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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The summer is almost here.... 101 simple summer meals


We often can't be bothered to think about cooking during the summer holidays. But with a little imagination even the laziest cook can rustle up something a lot more tempting than a standard ham salad. We asked two of our favourite chefs, Tom Norrington-Davies and Allegra McEvedy, and top New York food writer, Mark Bittman, to come up with a list of quick and easy alternatives. The result was 101 dishes, all of which get you in and out of the kitchen in 10 minutes or less (we're not counting the time it takes to bring water to the boil). These suggestions are not formal recipes; rather, they provide a general outline so that with a few simple ingredients you can turn any idea on this list into a meal for two.
1. Eggs with asparagus
Simmer eggs gently for six minutes, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
2. Herby pasta
Toss a couple of handfuls of fresh chopped herbs with a few tbs of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta (capellini, a very fine spaghetti), diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
3. Scallop ceviche with lime
Cut eight raw scallops into four horizontal slices each. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt and crushed chillies; serve after five minutes.
4. Prawns with white beans
Open a tin of white beans and combine with olive oil, salt, prawns, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. Cook, stirring, until the prawns are done; garnish with more olive oil.
5. Mussels with basil and tomato
Put 1.4 kilos of washed mussels in a deep pan with 250ml white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open - just a few minutes.
6. Sole on bread
Heat 1 cm of olive oil in a pan. Dip sole fillets in flour and fry until crisp, about 2 minutes a side. Serve on bread with tartare sauce.
7. Clams with garlic
Put a few dozen washed clams in a large, hot frying pan with olive oil. When the clams begin to open, add a tbs or 2 of chopped garlic. When most or all are opened, add some chopped parsley. Serve alone, with bread or over angel-hair pasta.
8. Steak and salad
Pan-fry a steak for three or four minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, slice and serve on romaine lettuce, drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
9. Baked mackerel
Smear fresh mackerel fillets with mustard, sprinkle with chopped herbs (fresh tarragon is good), seasoning and breadcrumbs. Bake for eight minutes at 220C/gas 7.
10. Paprika prawns
Warm olive oil in a pan with at least three cloves of sliced garlic. When the garlic colours, add at least a tsp each of cumin and paprika. A minute later, add a dozen or so prawns, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.
11. Rhubarb mess
Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. Sprinkle a tin with caster sugar and cover base with slices of rhubarb, cut about 2 cm thick. Douse the rhubarb with orange juice. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 mins. As the rhubarb cools it will release juices and make a syrup. Beat a tub of cream until just whipped. Break up a packet of meringues into the cream, add a glug of fresh custard and the rhubarb and fold everything together.
12. Chorizo with chickpeas
Put a large tin of unsalted chickpeas with their liquid in a medium saucepan. Add some sherry, along with olive oil, plenty of minced garlic, smoked paprika and chopped Spanish chorizo. Heat through.
13. Mackerel salad
Tear smoked mackerel fillets into pieces. Mix with lettuce, green beans and warm new potatoes. Dress with olive oil and dijon mustard.
14. Pasta with prosciutto
Put a few slices of chopped prosciutto in a pan with olive oil, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a bit of butter; after a minute, toss in about 100g breadcrumbs and red chilli flakes to taste. Serve with pasta and chopped parsley.
15. Crab sandwich
Mix cooked crab meat with mayo, Dijon mustard, chives and tarragon. Serve in a sandwich.
16. Panini
Cheese on toast with prosciutto, tomatoes and fresh thyme or basil.
17. Meaty scrambled eggs
Slice or chop some salami or Polish sausage and warm in a little oil; stir in eggs and scramble. Serve with mustard and rye bread.
18. Couscous with sardines
Soak 80g per person of couscous in boiling water, cover until tender; top with sardines, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and black pepper.
19. Stuffed tacos
Stir-fry 450g of minced meat or fish mixed with chopped onions, cumin or chilli powder. Pile into taco shells with tomato, lettuce, onion, coriander and sour cream.
20. Chinese scrambled eggs
Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes, then, a minute later, beaten eggs, salt and pepper.Scramble with a little soy sauce.
21. Grilled aubergine with cheese
Cut aubergine into half-inch slices. Grill with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and grill for another 20 seconds.
22. Quick tomato sauce
While some pasta cooks, combine 400g chopped tomatoes, a tsp or more minced garlic, olive oil and 20 to 30 basil leaves. Toss with pasta, salt, pepper and parmesan.
23. Posh cheese on toast
Grill one side of a slice of baguette. Cut a log of goats' cheese with rind into rounds, cover the untoasted side with cheese, and grill until browned and bubbling.
24. Lobster with warm potato, shallot and tarragon salad
Slice 200g new potatoes into thinnish discs. Simmer until al dente. Split a cooked lobster lengthways, and make a dressing with 1 tbs red wine vinegar, 2.5 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 diced shallots, tarragon, salt and pepper. Drain the potatoes, and dress. Serve with the lobster and lemon wedge.


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