Oppressive. Searing. Parched. The Midwest is put-a-fork-in-it cooked, fried and burned, thanks to weeks of daily-high three-digit temperatures and lack of rain. The smidgeon of a shower we received in central Iowa last night did little to counter the fact Iowa is three inches behind the normal July rainfall of 3.6 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
During these days when your seat belt is basically a branding iron and your lawn makes you want to weep, when it comes to meal preparation, I can’t even think about turning on the oven. Sure, the backyard grill is an option, but 1) I don’t even know how to turn ours on (my spouse is Master Griller), and 2) using it would require standing outside, tending to a smoking piece of protein. One wonders whether you could achieve the same results by slapping your steak onto the sidewalk.
My beat-the-heat meal plan involves the cooling foods of summer – tomatoes, melons and other fruits and veggies from local farmers’ markets – and the ease of canned foods. Today’s recipe is utterly adjustable per your preference for herbs and spices; it’s a quick throw-together that’s also full of protein and the health-supportive benefits of salmon’s high omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to do everything from enhance cell function to reduce cardiovascular problems. Plus this dish will keep you out of the heat – another health benefit on these 100-plus-degree days.
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1-14.75 ounce can of red salmon (see note below), drained
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley or mint
- 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use juice from my jar of sliced jalapeños instead)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Note: If you’ve not consumed canned salmon before, don’t be put off by the bones and skin. They’re completely edible and add an interesting texture.
Mix all ingredients, flaking the salmon as you do so. This is delicious on its own or on a bed of baby greens or shredded cabbage.