Get the idea: Ray's no-cook summer meals
So we knocked ourselves out cooking over Christmas and New Year and took charge of most of the holiday cooking as well, and now we are just a bit over cooking meals that are in any way complicated. Luckily with the warm weather (well it is as I write this) I’m not wanting big hot meals.
In fact, although I still want to eat good food, I’d like meals at the moment to be a matter of good shopping rather than good cooking. With this in mind I got thinking about meals that require minimal, or no cooking. I don’t mind flexing my knife skills with a bit of chopping and slicing, and steamed rice, boiled eggs and potatoes don’t count.
Make a salmon tartare by dicing skinned boned salmon fillet about 2cm and mixing it with some capers, a little finely chopped red onion, lemon zest, sliced green olives, salt, pepper, chopped chives and 1 cm diced avocado.Serve in small heaps on baby cos lettuce with a dollop of beaten sour cream and if you are feeling grand, a small spoonful of salmon roe out of a jar. Serve with fresh lemon wedges for squeezing, and rye bread.
On the tartare theme, beef tartare is another filling, flavour-packed item. Put some lean beef mince (or better still, mince some lean steak yourself) in a bowl and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add finely chopped red onion, red capsicum, parsley, capers, gherkin and a big splash of worcestershire sauce. Mix quickly and serve immediately in patty shapes on each person’s plate. Make a shallow hollow on the top of each and place an egg yolk in a half eggshell on each to mix in when eaten. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.
Make a quick gazpacho by blending until smooth lots of cored tomatoes, a red capsicum, a peeled, seeded cucumber, basil leaves, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, a little red wine vinegar and enough water to make a soup-like consistency (it should taste like a liquid salad). Chill and serve in wide soup plates with a generous sprinkling of chopped boiled eggs, bought croutons, very thinly sliced cured chorizo and sliced avocado. Warm flour tortillas on the side.
Drain a can or two of cannellini beans and puree with lemon juice and zest, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a little garlic, parsley and coriander. Spread this on a serving platter and place plenty of flaked skinned boned smoked fish on top. Sprinkle thin-sliced spring onions, halved cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil leaves on top and serve with Turkish pide bread
Soak some fine bulgar wheat in cold water for 30 minutes or until tender, drain well, season, add a little extra virgin olive oil and reserve. Put plenty of plain unsweetened yoghurt in a mixing bowl and add crushed walnut halves, golden raisins, thinly sliced spring onions, crushed garlic, sliced mint, lemon juice and salt to taste, and dill leaves. When ready to serve add lots of peeled 3cm diced cucumber and mix well. Serve on the bulgar in wide soup plates (Don’t add the cucumber until serving or its juices will dilute the yoghurt and make it watery and insipid).
Thinly slice lots of button mushrooms and add a finely chopped clove of garlic, chopped parsley, chives, capers, lemon juice and zest, and a little cream. Serve with plenty of thinly sliced salami and prosciutto and crusty dinner rolls.
Buy or make some aioli and place in a small bowl in the middle of a serving platter. Around it put small heaps of bought cooked prawns, well-drained canned crab meat, raw thin sliced tuna, sliced smoked roe, halved boiled eggs, thinly sliced carrot and celery, rocket leaves and boiled new baby potatoes. Everyone helps themselves.
Peel a large cucumber, split it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Dice the cucumber into 2cm chunks, place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Reserve 20 minutes or until the cucumber gives up its juices. Wash well, squeeze dry, sprinkle with white wine vinegar and serve with broken up, skinned, boned hot-smoked salmon, boiled new potatoes, shaved fennel bulb, halved cherry tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream mixed with bought horseradish.
Make a tofu and peanut salad by starting with a mix of 4 tablespoons sweet Indonesian soy sauce (kecap manis), 1 teaspoon Chinese chilli bean sauce, 6 tablespoons sesame oil, 6 tablespoons rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds. (It should taste like a spicy, sweet vinaigrette). Place a couple of blocks of firm tofu on a pad of paper towels, put another pad on top and a few side plates on top of the towels and let it press for 20 minutes to remove excess moisture. Dice the tofu 3cm and toss in the soy sauce mix (but don’t break up the tofu) with plenty of thinly sliced celery, drained canned water chestnuts, spring onions and crushed or chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts. Serve on baby cos lettuce leaves and sprinkle with coriander leaves. Hot steamed jasmine rice on the side.
Make a pineapple coleslaw from finely sliced red cabbage and baby spinach leaves, grated carrot, thinly sliced gherkins, finely diced fresh pineapple, chopped roasted almonds and a thinly sliced red onion mixed with a vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, sugar to taste, chopped coriander and chilli flakes. Serve this with bought sliced ham off the bone and sourdough bread.
Find more no-cook recipe ideas in our summer salads collection