Needed: cold recipes for a hot day that are good eating.
June 17, 2008 3:41 AM   Subscribe

What passes for summer is here in London, and I've already made all the cold dishes I know about ...

Our kitchens great but I do get a little weary of slavin' over that stove when its warm out. We had a hot patch of weather recently where I exhausted my inventory of warm weather recipes. I made (in no particular order): tuna pasta salad, three bean salad, gazpacho soup, cold melon soup and my usual bachelor meal: vegetable salads topped with smoked salmon.

So what other cold dinner dishes can I make?

We both prefer dishes that avoid most meat, but fish (either smoked or tinned) is fine.

Many thanks!
posted by Mutant to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
posted by grouse at 3:49 AM on June 17, 2008

Beef tomato, mozzarella and basil salad: Slide the tomatoes and mozzarella, interleave with basil leaves. Sprinkle with olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar if you want it, and black pepper. Some finely sliced red onion is optional.

Caesar salad: romaine or cos lettuce, croutons, shaved parmesan and some caesar dressing.

'Princes' do tinned mackerel in a spicy vinaigrette sauce. Not really spicy, actually, but very tasty and loaded with omega 3 goodness.

Greek salad: cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives if you like them, feta, olive oil, mint and oregano, lemon juice, black pepper.

Couscous salad: pour boiling water over couscous and leave to soak. Fluff. chill. Add stuff: sultanas, seeds and spices for something north african, or try king prawns, cashew nuts, coriander leaves, lemon zest and sliced red chilli.
posted by dowcrag at 4:00 AM on June 17, 2008

Hummus. Sandwiches. Insalata Caprese. Sesame noodles. Potato salad (in one of its many, many variations). Cold pea soup. Nachos with lots of lettuce, tomatoes, beans and guacamole (you can either melt the cheese in the microwave or a quick blast in the broiler). Nicoise salad. Summer rolls. Chopped veggie salads (Greek, Watermelon, whatever)
posted by Stewriffic at 4:31 AM on June 17, 2008

posted by fish tick at 4:34 AM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tapenade on your favorite garlic bread.
posted by RussHy at 4:37 AM on June 17, 2008

Chilled lettuce soup is good.

Somen is pretty much a typical Japanese summer dish. It's really nice when it is hot out. Here's a recipe.

The Japanese also eat a lot of char-broiled fish, specifically bonito. Here's a Japlish recipe.

Today I ate hayashi ramen - chilled egg noodles served with an ice cube with a soy/vinegar broth, cucumbers, pickled ginger, some sliced chicken, seaweed and a dollop of hot mustard.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:41 AM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Jicama is a root vegetable with a fresh, apple-like flavor and texture. It usually grows in tropical climates and looks something like a turnip. Crisp slices of jicama are delicious sprinkled with a little fresh lime juice and salt, but combined with oranges, red onions, and cilantro, it's a pure delight. This salad is as refreshing and light as a sorbet, and it's a treat for dieters since it is fat-free and low in calories.

2 cups diced peeled jicama (1/2 inch dice)
3 peeled seedless oranges, cut into sections
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell peppers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
freshly ground sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
posted by netbros at 5:20 AM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

We like orzo pasta mixed with any variety of fresh vegetables and cubed mozarella and tossed with a balsamic viniagrette.

We also mix diced tomatoes and cucumbers, minced dill, olive oil, and the juice of one lemon to couscous.

The other day we had the most delicious sandwiches: pita half stuffed with avocado and/or tomato slices, smeared with hummus on one side and yogurt dressing (plain yogurt, lotsa dill, lemon zest, bit o' salt) on the other. OMG yum.
posted by GardenGal at 5:38 AM on June 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Make soft tacos, but instead of frying up ground beef & taco seasoning, mix the seasoning with a can of black eyed peas. Let sit for several hours for the peas to soak up the seasoning. Serve up with the usual salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc. Meatless, and no cooking required.
posted by sandraregina at 5:49 AM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Insalata Caprese. It is the simplest, quickest and most delicious cold meal around.
posted by fire&wings at 5:54 AM on June 17, 2008

Watercress soup. So English, easy as pie, don't spare the watercress.

(Speaking of pie, if you can brave the oven to make a cheese, potato and onion pie with short, crackly pastry, it'll be fantastic out of the fridge in pennant-thin slices with some salad leaves and a generous spoonful of pickle.)

Looking abroad for inspiration: Panzanella. Fattoush. Tabbouleh. Think Med: Claudia Roden's Arabesque is great for summery treats. And here's an assortment from Nigel Slater.
posted by holgate at 6:06 AM on June 17, 2008

posted by brujita at 6:21 AM on June 17, 2008

Cucumber salad.

Mix sliced cucumbers, diced onions, sour cream, salt and pepper. Chill several hours or overnight.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:35 AM on June 17, 2008

Last night, I made guacamole for dinner. Serve it with chips or veggies for dipping.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:49 AM on June 17, 2008

Spring panzanella, a cold salad of bread, asparagus and peas. And you could do worse than digging around in the 101 Cookbooks archive—Heidi makes a lot of unique dishes that are delicious.
posted by bcwinters at 6:55 AM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I came across this one last weekend and made it for Father's Day. BIG hit.
posted by moitz at 7:58 AM on June 17, 2008

My SO and I want to try making ceviche.

Also, we made pickles last night. Don't think that makes a meal though. But, it's cold.
posted by baxter_ilion at 8:52 AM on June 17, 2008

Zaru soba is a chilled buckwheat noodle dish usually served with nothing more than sesame seeds, seaweed, and a cold dipping sauce. The linked recipe makes the sauce from scratch, but I just use the ones straight out of a bottle (check your nearest Asian grocery). Mmmmm.
posted by hellopanda at 9:39 AM on June 17, 2008

My SO has done this a couple of times and its very good, doesn't need to be a side dish, its from here:

Mint and mango tabbouleh

A refreshing yet substantial salad for accompanying almost anything. My current favourite is to eat this with grilled vegetables, but it is very good indeed with the grilled lamb below. Enough for 4 as a side dish.

150g cracked wheat
6 slim spring onions
a large, very ripe mango
a small, hot red chilli
8 bushy sprigs of mint
8 bushy sprigs flat-leaf parsley
juice of a lemon
olive oil

Pour the cracked wheat into a bowl and just cover with boiling water, then set aside.

Finely slice the spring onions, discarding the toughest of their leaves, then put into a mixing bowl. Peel the mango, cut the flesh from the stone in large slices, then cut into small dice and add to the spring onions.

Seed and finely chop the chilli, then roughly chop the mint and parsley leaves and add to the mango and onions. Pour in the juice of the lemon, a couple of tablespoons ofthe olive oil, and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Rough the cracked wheat up with a fork, making sure it has absorbed all the water. Crumble into the mango and onions, stir in a glug or two of olive oil - the grain should not be wet - then serve.
posted by biffa at 10:02 AM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Panzanella was mentioned above. I think it's worth a recipe right here in the green. Basically, it's a bread salad and the standard ingredients are tomatoes and onions (I've always seen it with red onions). The trick is to take old stale bread, soak it with water, but be sure to squeeze it out very well once it's soaked through. Season with salt, pepper, red wine or balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. You can make it a bit more pungent by adding a few anchovies. It's also wonderful with fresh herbs, especially parsley.

I've never made tarama salata myself, but I've heard the recipe isn't too difficult -- basically it's fish eggs (called tarama), blended with olive oil, lemon juice, and again bread. The proportions are more important here so you should do a lookup of the recipe at your favorite recipe website.

If you're anywhere near Islington, try paying a visit to Chapel Market during midday (open every day but Mondays I think). There's a fish stand there, or at least there was when I was there. They have giant (i.e. 1kg or so) tubs of tapas-style anchovies (called Boquerones I think) for a very low price -- maybe £5-6. They keep for nearly forever and are delicious right out of the container on slices of bread.

Also delicious is a simple bean-tuna salad: simply mix canneloni beans from the can with chunk tuna, some olive oil, and season with garlic.

If you can get your hands on good silken tofu, you can put the whole block on a plate and season with a marinade of a combination of rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, etc. Let it sit in the fridge for a nice period of time then garnish with finely sliced green onions. If you want a really authentic "summer tofu" you can go a good Japanese grocery -- there's one near Picadilly circus -- and buy a pack of bonito flakes and sprinkle a couple of pinches on top.

Now might be an interesting time to teach yourself how to make sushi if you haven't done so already. Obviously, you have to boil the rice but this can be done a bit beforehand and then make a slew of delicious vegetarian fillings. Good ones are julienned carrots, slivers of tofu, cucumber, pickled (or fresh) daikon and of course avocado. If you're too lazy to roll, you can just make rice balls: take some rice, put it in the center of a triangle of nori, push on some filling and then fold over the corners. Messier, but still just as tasty.

Another option if you have one is a BBQ grill, which at least brings the heat outside where it belongs. Your options are obviously endless but one of my summer favorites is corn on the cob. Just soak the husks in water and throw on the grill. Not exactly sure about cook time but I like my corn on the raw side anyway.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:07 PM on June 17, 2008

Check out this MetaChat thread for even more summer food.
posted by tangerine at 2:44 PM on June 17, 2008

Tuscan hummus (California Pizza Kitchen recipe), Lomi Salmon.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:48 PM on June 17, 2008

Chilled pear soup.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:05 PM on June 17, 2008

This salad sounds incongruous but I swear it is divine:

-Cubes of watermelon
-Pieces of fresh tomatoes
-Leaves of basil
-Crumbs or cubes of feta cheese
-balsamic vinegar
-a splash of olive oil
-black pepper

posted by Pallas Athena at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]

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