It's just so hot: the kind of heat where the mere thought of turning on the stove makes you melt a little, the shimmering humidity that leaves you perpetually thirsty for something, anything, ice cold.
Summer's record-breaking temperatures may make you want to break all your plates, but please, resist. Take a deep breath, then throw together a dinner that will help you make it through the next heatwave. We promise that we won't make you preheat a thing.
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 1/4 pounds tiny creamer potatoes
3/4 pound French filet beans or regular green beans
About 4 cups butter lettuce leaves
About 2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 pointed sweet red peppers, or 1 large red bell pepper
3 Persian cucumbers
3 ripe, flavorful tomatoes
About 3 ounces of mild smoked salmon
Grapefruit soda or grapefruit juice
We're assuming you have honey, flaky salt, olive oil, 4 eggs, a shallot, and sugar. If not, be sure to add those to your list too.
1. Make the lime cream. Whisk together the crème fraîche, the juice and zest of 1/2 a lime, and 1/2 teaspoon of honey until smooth. Add salt to taste, then add the minced chives and mix to incorporate. While whisking, add 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a thin stream until blended. Set aside.
2. Hard boil 4 eggs.
3. Boil the beans and potatoes. Trim the potatoes and remove the stem ends of the beans. Bring a medium pot of water seasoned with salt to a boil, and add the beans. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. After about 3 minutes, the beans should be crisp-tender. Remove them from the pot, rinse with cold water, and set them aside. Bring the water to a boil for a second time, add the potatoes, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of your salad ingredients. Wash and dry the lettuce; slice the peppers into thin strips; cut the cucumbers into semicircles; core the tomatoes and slice them into wedges; and cut the avocado into thin wedges. Then halve the 4 eggs and thinly slice your fish.
5. Plate your dinner. Arrange the lettuce on individual plates. Assemble the remaining ingredients on top to your liking. Drizzle the lime cream over top.
6. Mix the drink. Combine 8 ounces of tequila and 3 ounces of lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Give it a quick shake, then strain the mixture over fresh ice and add 3 ounces of grapefruit soda. If you don't have grapefruit soda, shake the tequila and lime juice with 3 ounces of grapefruit juice sweetened with simple syrup; to finish, top the drink with club soda for some carbonation.
Photos by James Ransom