This isn’t really a recipe as much as a bunch of things sliced up, doused in good-quality balsamic vinegar and hit with a bit of salt and pepper for good measure. The corn and tomatoes epitomize summer, and their flavors meld and mellow with time, so save the leftovers and when the weather still hasn’t let up, eat this all over again.
8 ears of white corn
2 quarts cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons high-quality balsamic vinegar
1 medium red onion
1 quarts sugar snap peas (Optional)
1 handfuls rough-chopped basil or flat-leaf parsley (Optional)
Salt and pepper
Strip raw corn from ears. Yep, raw. You can use a fancy corn stripper or just run your chef’s knife down the side of each ear about 8 times.
Slice all cherry tomatoes in half or quarters depending on your preference, and chop the red onion into a large dice.
If using the sugar-snap peas (they can be hard to find when the corn and tomatoes are available), cut in half or thirds to make more bite-sized. If you’re not using them, and you want a little green for visual appeal, some roughly chopped basil or flat-leaf parsley will do the trick.
Toss all vegetables in a bowl, along with the vinegar, salt and pepper. That’s it. Enjoy!
Bagna cauda — an Italian vinaigrette made fragrant by anchovy, garlic, and lemon juice — is a great way to dress up a mess of raw vegetables. The recipe recommends using a mortar and pestle to start off the bagna cauda, but in this heat, you probably don’t want to use any more muscle than is required to lift your fork to your mouth. You have permission to turn to a blender.
3. Mango Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto
We bet you never thought to put these these two things together. Bound in this lemony pesto, mangoes and fennel become great friends. And if you’re cooking ahead, this salad holds well for quite a while in the fridge.
Consider this license to use as much mayo in your coleslaw as you see fit — it’s the source of all slaw joy and we don’t intend to take it away. Lighten it up instead with feathery light napa cabbage. It’s studded with almonds and sesame seeds for an update on this warm-weather classic.
5. Shades of Green Chopped Salad
This is like the classic green salad’s sturdier, beefier sibling — so you’ll feel more like you’re eating a whole meal, without ever having touched the stove. Whatever you do, don’t leave out the bites of salty bleu. They’re non-negotiable.
6. Shaved Celery and Fennel Salad
This salad marries toasted celery seeds and hazelnuts with crisp, cool vegetables. Feel free to add slices of avocado to make it heartier. You may want to eat some ice cream immediately after to keep that cool feeling going. (Look, now you have an excuse.)
This cool, creamy salad may technically be a side-dish, but you’ll probably want a huge bowl of this. Just be sure to salt the vegetables keep them from getting soggy under the weight of the tangy yogurt dressing.
Make the most of refreshing summer fruit by putting it into a soup. This soup. All you need is some cantaloupe, some citrus, and five minutes. Whiz everything together in a blender, then position yourself squarely in front of your fan, and slurp away.
When the world is melting and your AC unit is working overtime to turn your apartment into the next best thing to a meat locker, you clearly can’t be bothered to cook the fish you bought at the greenmarket. So don’t: cube it, then cure it in citrus with watermelon for a bright take on this classic Mexican dish.
It resembles spaghetti, but it won’t heat up your kitchen the way the pasta version will. Thinly sliced zucchini and summer squash get a healthy dose of tarragon vinaigrette — and an awesome name — in this refreshing dish.
11. Tartine with Mustard Mayo and Mashed Avocado
File this one under meals that require only assembly. (And barely any at that.) The cooking method here extends pretty much only as far as the opening of your fridge. Mash an avocado, spread it on toast, then enjoy with some radishes. It’ll taste like you’ve spent much longer cooking it than you really have.
12. Gazpacho with Honeydew & Peppadew
Extra incentive to get your blender out: while you eat this gazpacho, you can imagine you’re sitting in breezy Barcelona instead of stuck to your dining room chair. The addition of peppadew peppers gives the soup just the right amount of heat to balance the sweetness of the melon.
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