Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. Last week, I boldly suggested that you roast dinner on sheet pans to minimize cleanup. I got some angry emails! You were so mad at me! It’s too hot out for that!
Readers, I have to apologize. I lost sight of one of the founding principles of this newsletter, which is to always think of apartment dwellers, of those with small kitchens, of those who may not have air conditioning or outdoor space. The truth is, I am staying with family outside the city, and it’s just not as hot here. I feel I’ve betrayed my fellow New Yorkers: I know the humidity of July in Brooklyn. I know what it is like to heat the oven on days like that. It is sweaty. It is bad.
So here are recipes that do not require the oven at all. Also remember, if you have the space for it, that a slow cooker or pressure cooker is your friend on a stiflingly hot day. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org, and now you know for sure that I read your emails! Write to me anytime.
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Here are five dishes for the week:
This recipe by Yasmin Fahr is a twist on the kebabs and kofte found throughout various Middle Eastern cuisines. It calls for ground turkey, which is not traditional, and you roast the skewers, rather than cooking over fire. But I promised you wouldn’t have to turn on an oven. So skip the wooden skewers and cook the meat in a cast-iron pan on the stove, shaping it into small meatballs or patties.
This pantry recipe from Colu Henry uses canned clams, not fresh ones, and while fresh clams are indeed a dream, I find this version of the Italian classic irresistible. It’s fast to make and easy to love, and doesn’t require a special shopping trip.
Here is my annual reminder to you that a maximalist caprese salad, with prosciutto and peppers, can be a good summer dinner — maybe the best summer dinner. We do this nearly every week in my home. Use this recipe, by David Tanis, as an Italianate template, or take it in your own direction.
This is another main-course salad for the heat, adapted from the chef Cara Mangini, and it is rife with chickpeas, celery and cherry tomatoes; be sure to leave time for them to marinate. Yes, the optional croutons would be delicious. But you would have to turn on your oven. Skip them.