Slow-cooked lamb that can stand the heat – The Denver Post


By David Tanis, The New York Times

Speaking of summer weather, or weren’t we? I pronounce it “exceedingly hot and humid.” While that’s not true of everywhere, of course, I know many people who would emphatically answer yes when asked, “Hot enough for you?” And emphatically no when asked, “Are you going to cook?” Some won’t even turn on the oven or boil a pot of water from June to October.

My friends, cooking in the heat, summertime or not, is part of being a cook. Embrace it. People the world around routinely cook in hot climates every day. Even if you do all your cooking outdoors, you won’t escape without breaking a sweat.

There are strategies to summer cooking. Early morning, before the day heats up, is a good time to get a head start on dinner. And if you can cook today for tomorrow — in the cool of the evening, perhaps? — so much the better. The recipes in this month’s menu can all be prepared a day in advance, though it is certainly not required.

It’s hard not to wax prosaic when you hit the farmers market right now. Drop-dead gorgeous fruits and vegetables, bursting forth in every color — be still my heart. Fine, fat and glistening eggplants, check! Ripe tomatoes in every size — to cry for! Runner beans and green beans and fresh shell beans. Peak berries and particularly swoonworthy stone fruit. I’m breathless. Make dinner with that kind of flavorful haul, indoors or out, today or tomorrow, and how can you lose?

With the eggplant, make a smoky spread, flecked with cumin, to smear on flatbread. The first step of the process is fun: You get to burn the heck out of the eggplant. Place them directly on hot coals or in the flames of a gas burner, turning, until they are completely blackened. The inside flesh will have steamed to softness, then it’s just a matter of scraping away the charred skin and mashing the tender, smoke-tinged innards with aromatics, garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil.


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