It’s hot in Charleston. There’s no way around the weather, but there just might be a way to skip the brutal heat associated with cooking in the summertime. We checked in with Bad Bitches’ co-founder Sarah Adams for some tips and tricks when it comes to the easiest way to cook — raw. Crudites, a fancy French word for chopped up veggies, are one of Adams’ favorite ways to cook without heat.
And the easiest way to eat is not to do anything at all — which is why we recommend checking out Aunt Harriet’s pop-up dinners, hosted by the Bad Bitches, Adams and Nikki Anhalt, themselves. The dinners will be held at Queen Street Grocery at 6:30 p.m. on June 26, and July 10, 17, & 24. Tickets are $75 and include food, wine, and gratuity. Buy tickets at auntharriets.com.
Tips for cooking raw
By Sarah Adams
1. Buy local. I always encourage people to buy local, but it’s especially important when you are eating something raw because you want it to be as fresh as possible.
2. Use high-quality olive oil and seasalt. When something is beautiful enough to be eaten raw, all it really needs is a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. Bulls Bay has a Carolina Flake that I use all the time. For olive oil, you want to use a high quality oil intended for finishing and not a heat application. Splurge! I like the columela arbequina. It’s got a young and fresh flavor with a sweet and almost buttery flavor, great for veggies or even raw fish. Major bonus is that Harris Teeter carries both.
3. Taste everything before you buy it. The only way that you can know whether or not to apply heat is to taste first. I always taste produce before I buy. There’s only one way to find out if something is delicious raw. Use your instincts. If you think it’s delicious raw, others will too.
4. Save the prep for last. You want to make sure that you don’t peel or cut anything until you are ready to serve it. Clean all the dirt off your farm fresh produce when you get it, but wait to take a blade to it until you are ready to serve. This will keep your veggies totally intact and pristine.
5. Temperature. General rule of thumb is if you buy something cold, keep it cold, and if it’s never seen a refrigerator, don’t let it unless you have to. Refrigeration was invented to keep things good for longer, but can start to lessen the flavor of your veggies. Unless you are concerned about ripening, stay away from the cold.
I love dip and so do veggies. At Aunt Harriets, we keep three sauces on the table at all time: house chili pepper condiment, ginger sauce, and a chimichurri. All are great for meat and veggies alike. Here is the recipe for Francis Mallmann’s chimichurri. I love his recipe because of the seasoned brine. The ginger sauce can be made a day ahead, but the chimichurri is best day of.
Francis Mallmann’s Chimichurri
1 cup water
1 tbs. coarse salt
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh oregano leaves
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup red-wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the salt, and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Mince the garlic very finely and put in a medium bowl.
2. Mince the parsley and oregano, and add to the garlic, along with the red pepper flakes.
3. Whisk in the red wine vinegar, then the olive oil. Whisk in the salted water.
4. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep in the refrigerator. Let the flavors mingle for at least a day and serve with grilled meats. The sauce can be kept refrigerated for up to three weeks.
Adapted from Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallmann with Peter Kaminsky; Artisan, 2009