Canicule (heatwave) cooking

Recent hot weather has inspired a bit of chilled food ‘cooking’.  Mostly in experiential stages and just throwing things together.

My go to hot weather meal is a gazpacho….I just use what I have on hand- with tomato, cucumber (remove seeds and skin), red onion, olive oil and sherry vinegar as a base…then maybe a green or red pepper, or some celery (with leaves) or a chili…blend it all up, add some crustless stale white bread and a bit of salt, let it sit about 10 minutes, blend again.  Chill a few hours, maybe top with a few croutons (using up your stale bread) a drizzle of good olive oil, and eat!

I recently whipped up a melon version using the amazing perfumed Quercy melons we have here:

  • ½ melon
  • ½ long cucumber
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

…blend, chill and eat. Maybe top with a bit of fresh goats cheese or some shredded dried ham (Jambon Bayonne, Iberico or prosciutto).

Another recent ‘canicule’ inspiration was based on a ‘verrine’  from a tapas restaurant in Toulouse ( , aubergine, tomato and goats cheese. 

Aubergine: chop in to relatively big cubes, toss in salt and olive oil put in a pan and roast for 45 min at 200c.  Puree with a spoonful of thick yoghurt and a dollop of tahini.

Tomato: x3 tomatoes, quarter, toss in olive oil with a clove of shaved garlic, roast for 45 min at 200c (conveniently same as the aubergine!): roughly puree, and if you have sundried tomatoes in oil lying around, toss a couple of those in when you puree

Goats cheese: I used my fresh homemade goats cheese, but any soft goats cheese will do.  A few heaping spoonfuls mixed with some pesto, voila! If you are feeling gourmet you could whip it up with some milk or cream

Layer each ‘puree’ up in a glass (I use old mustard jars, which here in France often don’t have screw top lids and are a perfect size for is sort of thing): aubergine on the bottom, tomato, then top with goats cheese.  Chill a couple hours then impress your friends and enjoy.

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