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Heat wave cookery

Posted by Sheryl Julian  July 22, 2013 09:33 PM

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bastillepeasoup.jpg

I cooked for guests last Saturday and honestly, on Friday when I was shopping, it was so hot I thought I'd have to come home and put my feet in an ice bucket. I kept changing the menu until I had one that didn't require the oven.

This is pea and mint soup, garnished with yogurt. I've been serving cool (not cold) soups in glasses as an appetizer lately. I did sweat a couple of onions and bring chicken stock to a boil, but that required turning on the burner only briefly. Then I ladled and garnished the glasses assembly-line fashion.

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The main course was pan bagnat, the classic Nicoise sandwiches in which you layer tuna salad with onion, capers, and olives into hollowed-out sandwich rolls, with basil, tomatoes, and hard-cooked eggs (there are many variations; help yourself to other typical Provencal vegetables). Use tuna in olive oil and don't skimp on the salt and you get a great sandwich. Wrap in paper and tie with string and store in a cool place for several hours (not the refrigerator). Here is the stack I made and stored in my husband's wine cooler. No oven, no burners.

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Finally, fruit in cream. It began as a fool, the refreshing British dessert of pureed fruit swirled into cream, but honestly, I couldn't face making purees from blueberries and strawberries. So I folded the fruits with crushed meringues into cream and garnished it with almonds.

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We put a fan on the porch, ate leisurely, and finally felt a little breeze.

Pea soup, pan bagnat, and fruit in cream all taste wonderful on a steamy Sunday morning, by the way.

Pan bagnat

Makes 2 sandwiches or enough to serve 4

 

The traditional sandwiches pan bagnat (“bathed bread”) from Nice are really Nicoise salad in a roll. They have to sit for several hours for the flavors to mellow. Don’t skimp on the olive oil or the salt.

 

2 eggs

2 crusty French or Italian sandwich rolls (each about 6-inches long)

Olive oil (for sprinkling)

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cans (6 to 7 ounces each) light tuna in olive oil

4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar, or more to taste

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pitted black or green olives, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons capers

2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves

2 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced

 

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for exactly 10 minutes. Lift out and transfer to a bowl of very cold water. Tap the egg shells and remove a large band. Return to the cold water until the eggs are cold. Peel them; dry on paper towels.

2. Halve the rolls and with your fingers, remove most of the soft crumb. Sprinkle the rolls with olive oil and salt.

3. In a bowl, combine the tuna and the oil in the cans, anchovies, if using, the 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, onion, olives, capers, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Taste for seasoning and add more vinegar, if you like. Divide the mixture among the bottom pieces of bread. Top with basil leaves and tomatoes, setting them overlapping slightly.

4. Use an egg slicer to slice the eggs and arrange the slices overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Close the sandwiches and wrap each tightly in parchment paper. Secure with string.

5. Set the sandwiches in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for 3 to 4 hours.

6. Unwrap, cut in half, and serve. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.

Contributors

Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.
 

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