I received an email last week from a reader named Esmeralda in Madrid, who wrote that the summers there are quite hot: “We need to cook cool meals and using the oven is completely forbidden.” She’s been making creamy salmorejo, a close relative of gazpacho from Córdoba in southern Spain — which, she noted, gets even hotter than Madrid.
I haven’t tried salmorejo yet, but I have made the gazpacho recipe below, a longtime and passionate favorite of the New York Times Cooking staff. Just reading the word “gazpacho” is bliss on a scorching day.
“Best” is a bold claim in a recipe title, but this gazpacho actually deserves it. Julia Moskin learned to make this version when she was on a reporting trip in Seville, Spain, and it’s a purist approach: a blitz of tomato, cucumber, green pepper, garlic and lots of olive oil. Don’t skimp on the oil, OK? This is a nice light, early dinner with a hefty salad and bread.
I love spaghetti al limone, which can read as both rich (the cream) and light (the lemon flavor that suffuses it). Lidey Heuck adds shrimp to her version of the Italian classic, which gets its richness from butter and Parm, rather than cream. I want to eat this by the sea, but will settle for my dining table.
This gorgeous Iranian fish dish from Naz Deravian is very simple, requiring only sumac and turmeric, orange and lime. The recipe calls for butterflied whole fish, which you can sometimes find prepared (or ask a fishmonger to prepare for you). But any mild-flavored fillet would be a fine backup.
Basic chicken breast has found its best self, courtesy of Eric Kim and this smart brining method. Serve it with a salad or grains or really just about anything. If you don’t have a spice grinder (or a mortar and pestle), I think you can skip the bay leaves and use some ground pepper in place of whole peppercorns.
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