In the midst of this Northwest heat wave, when Seattle is parked squarely under something called a “heat dome” it’s difficult for most of us Seattle-area denizens to manage through. Most of us don’t have air conditioning in our homes (we usually don’t need it), and while a handful of fans purchased at Costco usually do the trick, they may not cut it over the next few days.
On top of keeping cool, we also need to consider filing our bellies with something other than cold drinks. While a kiddie pool and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches may fly for the kids, most adults probably want something a tad more refined for dinner.
Enter, the ‘Krystle dinner’.
Named after my wife, this simple meal is her go-to for nights when she has to arrange her own nosh, and it reads like a ‘greatest hits’ of the food world: bread, meat, cheese, some spicy business, and a bit of veggies. The essentials are covered. The bread is hearty and crunchy, and the cheese is light and creamy. The salty, richness of the meat is accented by the spice of the sauce and a peppery bite of arugula.
That’s it. You can add other stuff if you like, but you don’t need to. It’s delicious as is.
And that’s what makes it such a perfect little dinner, especially for hot weather. You can buy everything you need for it at Trader Joe’s. It’s easy to assemble. It eats like a meal. You don’t have to cook anything, although you can toast the bread if you want. And hell, you can eat it right out of the package if you so choose.
The following is the ingredient/shopping list, and a simple set of instructions. I highly recommend it, especially on a hot day.
Ingredients (remember, you can get everything at TJ’s):
- Crusty bread, like Pugliese, sliced into inch-thick pieces
- Prosciutto or other cured meats
- Burrata cheese
- A dressing – I would recommend Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce
- Some olive oil (if you’re going to grill the bread)
- If you’re going to toast the bread, preheat the grill (high heat) OR preheat the oven (350 degrees), and slice the bread into inch-thick pieces
- GRILL: Drizzle or brush each side of the bread lightly with olive oil, and then toast the bread for 2-3 minutes on each side once the grill is hot
- OVEN: Arrange the bread (no oil) on a baking sheet, and place it in the heated oven for 4-5 minutes on each side
- Note: Since we’re trying to stay cool, maybe don’t use the oven method during a heat wave
- If you’re fancy, arrange all of the ingredients on a serving tray, with a cheese knife and those cute “organized chaos” style bits of cured meat strewn about the plate
- Assemble your bites with a hunk of bread, some pepper spread (or your dressing of choice), a bit of burrata, a few leaves of arugula, and a slice of cured meat.
- Then eat it. That’s it. See? I told you it was simple.