Recipes: Raw Deal

When the heat hits, give your stove a break
recipes and photos by Marissa McClellan, foodinjars.com

Here in Philly, August is a notoriously steamy month. Temperatures hover in the 90s and the air is so thick with humidity that walking from one room to another can leave you dripping with sweat. The last thing you want to do is crank up the oven or stovetop, adding an extra layer of suffocating heat (and a few bucks to that A.C.-inflated electric bill).

Happily, this time of year, farmers' markets and backyard gardens are bursting with produce that only needs a bit of washing, chopping and dressing to be delicious. Start your no-cook meal with a salad made from raw kale and grated carrot. When you toss kale ribbons with a nice, flavorful oil, they mellow into something truly inviting.

For the main course, toss cubed tomatoes, cucumber chunks, minced red onion, torn basil, fresh mozzarella and hunks of day-old bread together with a simple dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Light, easy and ready in five minutes.

While you’re eating, set a dish of slivered peaches (or nectarines) to macerate in a few spoonfuls of Cointreau and a sprinkling of sugar. Serve these juicy bits with lightly sweetened crème fraiche or some good vanilla ice cream. Dinner is done.

Raw Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and cut into thin ribbons
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 5-6 grinds of black pepper
  • a generous pinch of salt
  1. Place kale ribbons and grated carrots in a large mixing bowl. Whisk dressing oils, vinegar, salt and pepper together, and pour over vegetables. 
  2. Using a pair of tongs (or your hands), toss the greens with the dressing to incorporate. Let salad sit for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. The oil will soften the kale, making it tender and relaxed, but that takes a bit of time. 
  3. Taste prior to serving and adjust seasoning if necessary.  

Panzanella

  • 4 good-sized tomatoes
  • 1 large English cucumber, cubed
  • ½ medium red onion, minced
  • 8 oz. small fresh mozzarella cheese balls (bocconcini)
  • 1 cup gently packed basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 inches of day-old baguette or rustic country bread, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut tomatoes in half across their equator and squeeze the seeds out into a strainer set over a small bowl. You want to reserve the tomato juice while discarding the seeds. Chop tomatoes and place them in a large serving bowl. Add cucumbers, onion, mozzarella cheese and basil. Add dressing ingredients, reserved tomato juice, salt and pepper.
     
  2. Let the vegetables sit for a few minutes; they will shed liquid (don’t skip the salt; it helps draw out moisture). Once it’s nice and sloshy, add your bread and toss to combine. Serve when the bread is just saturated with the tomato-y liquid. 

 

Macerated Peaches

  • 2 peaches, cut into slivers
  • 1 tbsp. Cointreau
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  1. Combine the ingredients and stir to combine (don’t be gentle; smush the fruit a bit to really get those juices flowing). Top with lightly sweetened crème fraiche or ice cream (a sprinkle of granola or some toasted nuts is also nice). Truly the perfect, no-cook summer dessert.