Chilled wine, cold salads for warm evenings | Food and Cooking

Beautiful tomatoes, onion, garlic and bell peppers at the farmers market inspired the Provencal-style fish salad. A panful of sliced onions and peppers sprinkled with herbs get roasted in the oven, then topped with slices of tomato and lean, sweet fish fillets for a final cook under the broiler.

Showered with fresh basil and lemon juice, the fish tastes delicious served at room temperature or chilled over baby lettuces. On cooler days, I serve the dish warm accompanied by sliced, boiled golden potatoes or a scoop of warm, medium-grain rice, Israeli couscous or farro. A very cold French rose proves the perfect accompaniment.

Black rice makes a stunning salad, especially when laced with bright colors from radish, butternut squash, corn kernels and herbs. Roasted, grilled or smoked chicken turns the rice into a main-dish salad. Serve the salad with a cold sauvignon blanc. (My favorites come from Chile.) Or, try a super-chilled sour beer with just a touch of fruit such as white peach or a German-style unfiltered sour wheat beer (gose).

I look forward to setting a table with friends gathered close. Until then, summery food and a breezy patio helps us appreciate good health. Crisp, chilled wine ensures lively conversation.


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