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Fresh Ideas for Summer Side Dishes

Grace in the Kitchen – August

    Photo by Julia Gartland

    As summer heats up and temperatures approach triple digits in some parts of the country, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. On those days, even the thought of eating hot food makes me woozy. Lucky for us, our fish is blast frozen, making it ideal for raw consumption.

    We have loads of recipes on our website that require absolutely no heat. Ginger-Sesame Salmon Ceviche, Beet-cured Gravlax, Tuna Tartare, Salmon Crudo, and more. They’re refreshing, cooling, and––in most cases––ready in minutes. But what about side dishes or vegetables that need to be steamed, blanched, or sautéed?

    Well, treated similarly to cured fish, those tough veggies can be tenderized into delicious submissions. Take broccoli, for instance. Just like kale (or any vegetable in the Brassica family, such as brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.), broccoli can be cut into bite-sized pieces, sprinkled with a little salt, and gently massaged until softened. Dress it with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil, add some sliced scallions and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and you have one killer, cool side dish. The same goes for zucchini, asparagus, or carrots. Shave them with a vegetable peeler, then toss with a tart vinaigrette (the acid helps break down the fibers) and watch them wilt into silky ribbons. Add some crumbled feta, chopped almonds, and dates for an explosion of texture and flavor.

    Then of course, we have peak-season tomatoes which require nothing but a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt, but add a handful of fresh herbs and crumbled pita chips (store-bought, of course) and you have a refreshing tomato fattoush.

    Stay cool this summer and let the salt and acid do the cooking.