Let’s face it. It’s hot. Really, really hot. So hot it dulls the appetite down to a soft hum that’s more the imperative We should probably eat something rather than the typical insatiable urge to feast upon deliciousness until every last morsel is devoured. Furthermore, the thought of even rotating a knob on the gas range feels like some kind of crime against terrestrial thermodynamics, as if someone might catch you adding heat to an already oppressively hot planet and cry “You’re making it worse!!!”
Still, my wife’s mantra has always been “You gotta eat!” [Ed.--Actually, that's what people said to me whenever I told them I was majoring in food marketing in college] and she’s always right. And so, over the next few days (hopefully not weeks) I will be presenting some dishes that require a minimum thermal expenditure. Here we have that ubiquitous summer staple, a salad. It’s not your typical salad, but perhaps the cliche “this is not your mother’s salad” is not accurate, as I believe the hearts of palm offering was popular in the 50’s and 60’s. This comes from the Barcelona cookbook again, with a few modifications, namely the addition of arugula. The recipe calls for little more than roasted red peppers (which have been sprinkled with white balsamic vinegar, paprika & cayenne), avocado, green onion and hearts of palm all dressed with a mustard vinaigrette. I assumed it had some kind of greenery and went ahead and bought some, not realizing with wasn’t that kind of salad. I added the about a cup (maybe a bit more) and thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.
Before you balk at this, I admit that, yes, the roasted red peppers need 15 or so minutes under the boiler to, well, get roasted. You can easy by the jarred variety or some authentic Spanish piquillos in the jar, but I find that those products tend to have a weird aftertaste that I prefer to avoid by making them myself. Although, on a scorcher like today, I might break down and just go for the jar.
Though it may sap your strength, readers, do not lose heart in the heat. Remember that the fellas at the pizza place around the corner have it much worse than you do. Until next time, friends- stay cool and cook on!!!