Hot and humid with a chance of salad

It has been ridiculously hot in Toronto recently. Yesterday alone was 35 degrees Celsius, but with the humidity, it felt more like 42. That’s 107 degrees Fahrenheit, Americans.

Multiply that by whatever city factors that seem to increase it  (concrete, glass, smog, vehicle exhaust) by another 10 degrees and we’re looking at a tropical urban environment, pungent and toasty. As I walk to and from work, the heat of the sidewalk rises through my shoes and burns my feet. Last week, a hole actually melted through my cheap little summer shoes. I’m not even exaggerating.

The city actually issues a humidex advisory which requires all public places with air conditioning to allow people to loiter so that they can cool down. And they roll out these “filling stations” containing free public drinking water on trailer hitches, so that people don’t collapse in the street of dehydration or heat stroke. Pretty soon they’ll be setting up kiddie pools in every public park space and handing out free ice cream cones and rides to the beach….or so I wish…

Yes, the heat is so heavy and imposing that I can’t quite bring myself to eat anything other than ice chips. Occasionally I will languidly pick away at wilted salad greens. Which is not very nutritionally sound, as you might guess.

At a recent summerlicious lunch, my dining partner had a lovely light and fresh salad that I knew I must make as soon as possible. It was so unexpected and dainty and well, summery!

It consisted, very simply, of watermelon bits, fresh ricotta cheese, cucumbers and basil, drizzled with good olive oil. But there was one more thing…something…unusual.

Pickled red onions, with a certain flavour that was almost unidentifiable. Almost.

It was tarragon! And absolutely delicious. It added a real softness to the flavour of the onions.

It all came together quite nicely, and was really easy to recreate.

This is the type of dish that is so simple, you really want to make sure your ingredients are top-notch. I got the good sheep’s milk ricotta from the market, and used fresh basil (from my ginormous basil plant that is currently casting shadows over everything in my kitchen and infusing the air with an aromatic aura)

The perfect light meal for a hot summer weeknight!


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Categories: Food

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  1. Witheringly hot… « After the Ecstasy, the Laundry . . . - July 19, 2011

    […] Hot and humid with a chance of salad ( […]

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