From what I've gathered, Italian or italian-inspired cuisine seems to lend itself best for the type of cooking I've been thinking of. To start with I tried out the eye-catching (and rather patriotic looking) Insalata Caprese. How's this for easy? I sliced up the ripest and juiciest tomatoes I could find, layered the slices with fresh basil leaves and followed suit with torn pieces of fresh mozzarella. True to form, this salad needed only the simplest of dressings - a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper. That is all. That, and a crusty loaf of bread to help mop up and savour those lovely flavours.
I'm not a huge fan of summer. In fact I hate summer and I'm biding my time till this relentless sauna that passes for a fricken season is well and truly over. Specifically relating my whine to the theme of our blog, I hate summer because I hate slaving away over a stovetop on 40 degree plus days where I have an equal chance of frying up an egg on a hotplate as I would off the back of my neck! Why should I be spending time in the kitchen longer than I care for...except for the minor issue of sustenance. D'oh! Oh well, a trawl of foodblogs and recipes websites for summer-friendly recipes has fortunately yielded a couple of good finds that mean minimal fussing in a hot kitchen.
Next up I was looking for something a little more robust and substantial. Nothing says substantial to me better than pasta. So hooray for me for finding a winning recipe for a tasty pasta dish requiring minimal sweltering over a stove top! I first spied a variation of the recipe as 'Spaghetti picante' in a magazine and found it handy for when cooking creativity was limited. But a recent squizz of some food blogs led me to an incarnation of this recipe incorporating the humble sardine. The good eater at Kalofagas recently posted a recipe for linguine with sardines and bread crumbs, and made a very convincing case on why we should be reviving the fortunes of the daggy old sardine (e.g. omega 3 content, low in the food chain hence less exposure to mercury,...cheap!). So here's my take on it:
dried linguine pasta
stale bread crumbs, coarse
mixture of dried herbs (I used oregano, thyme, sage, garlic powder)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
extra virgin olive oil
bunch of fresh continental parsley
tin or two of sardines in oil
Boil up the linguine in salted water.
Fry up the bread crumbs with the dried herb mixture, oil, balsamic, salt and garlic cloves, and then add the sardines. Toss this final mixture to the cooked linguine and add fresh, finely chopped parsley and parmesan, and you are ready to feast with nary a bead of sweat sulling your forehead for your efforts.