When the temperature skyrockets, the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven. The kitchen is warm enough and I just eat salads all summer.
The other big plus is that it saves electricity, but of course I’m not going to give up baking altogether. Instead, I’ll try to be more discerning when using it. For example, the oven does not always need to be preheated. If I’m roasting vegetables or cooking chicken thighs on trays, I often insert them before they reach temperature. This does little to change the end result but can reduce the overall cooking time by a few minutes. (I always preheat completely if I’m baking or roasting meat, fish, or whole chicken.) And whatever I’m cooking, I turn off the oven five minutes before the end of the cooking time because the residual heat is hot enough to finish cooking. work.
It goes without saying that you should only open the oven door during cooking if you really need to – it’s much more efficient if you don’t.
And finally, it is also worth thinking about. If the oven is on for tonight’s chicken why not put a tray of peppers, onions and squash or baked potatoes on the bottom shelf to cook now then quickly reheat for the nights next?
Remember that the top of the oven is the hottest, so you may need to swap things out depending on what golden color you want.
Recipe for ricotta, eggplant and serrano ham salad
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C convection/gas 6. Cut off the tops of the aubergines and cut them into thick wedges. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread on a foil-lined roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Pour over the aubergines, toss them lightly and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, then let cool. POINT: eggplant can be roasted a day in advance then refrigerated until ready to serve (leave at room temperature 30 minutes before serving).
- Place the ricotta in a mixing bowl and add the zest of 1⁄2 lemon and a squeeze of juice. Season with salt and pepper then beat with a wooden spoon.
- Place the ricotta on the bottom of four plates. Garnish with the arugula, ham and roasted eggplant then finish with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
*This cost assumes that you already have basic ingredients. Prices taken from Aldi and correct at time of printing.