Too hot to cook? Maritime chefs share their cool recipes

Has the recent heat wave in the Maritimes had you scouring the refrigerator for some cool ideas? We sought inspiration from three Maritime chefs and from you, dear readers, on Facebook.

When you can't stand the heat, get into the kitchen with these meal ideas

Chef Scott Masson at the Saint John Alehouse has some great grilling tips for fish. (Submitted by Saint John Alehouse)

You know what they say — If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. But we still have to eat! 

Has the recent heat wave in the Maritimes had you scouring the refrigerator for some cool ideas?

We sought inspiration from three Maritime chefs and from you, dear readers, on Facebook

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Saint John Ale House

Chef Scott Masson is the chef de cuisine at the Saint John Ale House in New Brunswick, and shared his recipe for grilled halibut and salad. 

"This is my favourite dish because not only do I get to grill on a barbecue, but I can raid the farmer's market for everything in the salad!" he said. 

This meal is a nice light offering for a hot day — it won't make you feel weighed down, says Masson. (Submitted by Saint John Alehouse)

Grilled halibut with garden panzanella salad

  • 4 - 6 oz. fresh halibut steaks from your local fishmonger.  
  • Salt and pepper to taste. 
  • ¼ cup melted ADL creamery butter.
  • 1 lemon to squeeze on fish.
  • 8 garden fresh tomatoes, cored, cut into eighths.
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (Masson uses opal basil), roughly torn.
  • 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped.
  • 250 g croutons (Masson likes sourdough or multigrain).
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 100 g fresh snow peas (cut in half, whole if smaller).
  • 100 g goat's milk feta (or cow's milk feta), crumbled.
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (or red wine).
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive.

Prepare veggies and ingredients for salad. Mix just the veggies and herbs in a bowl and keep cold in the fridge. 

Preheat your grill to 375 F. Clean and oil your grill so there is less chance of your fish sticking, Masson says. 

Pat your halibut dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Place on hot grill for approximately two minutes, then flip. Cook another two minutes, then flip and rotate to create that sexy crosshatch, and repeat. If at any time the fish does not release easily from the grill, your grill has either cooled down or it is just not ready to flip. Using a thermometer, check temperature of fish — Masson says he likes a medium halibut — 135 F. Brush with melted butter and set aside.

Add the croutons to the bowl of veggies. Toss with the vinegar, then the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place salad on plate, and crumble feta on top. Place halibut on plate with lemon wedges.

My Plum, My Duck

"I have been making this for 20 years — it's one of my top sellers," shares chef-owner Sarah Forrester Wendt of My Plum, My Duck in Charlottetown, who shared her recipe for cold spicy sesame noodles.

These spicy noodles from My Plum, My Duck are refreshing on a hot day. (Submitted by My Plum, My Duck)

"It can be served cold or at room temperature. It's great for potlucks or a quick go-to. You can add another fresh veg, or seafood," she said. 

Cold spicy sesame noodle

  • 150 ml tahini.
  • 150 ml sesame oil.
  • 225 ml shoyu, a type of soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp crushed chilies.
  • 25 ml rice vinegar.
  • ½ tbsp rice syrup.
  • 3 lbs of linguine.
  • 1 carrot, grated.
  • 1 bunch green onion, sliced thin.

For the sauce, blend all ingredients except noodles, carrots and onion until smooth and set aside. Sauce can be refrigerated and saved for a later day.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add noodles and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water — make sure they are cold. Mix well with sauce, carrots and onions. Serve chilled.

Line cook Gabriel White and chef Sarah Forrester Wendt at My Plum, My Duck in Charlottetown make a lot of these sesame noodles on hot summer days. (Submitted by My Plum, My Duck )

Le Caveau

Chef Jason Lynch at Le Caveau, the restaurant at Grand Pré Winery near Wolfville, Nova Scotia, loves this chilled heirloom tomato soup in hot weather.

"It's an amazing balance between acidity and sweetness," he said. "Really refreshing on a hot, muggy day." 

Lynch suggests pairing the soup with a salad to turn it into a meal. He garnishes his with dried olives. 

Chef Jason Lynch loves to serve fish on hot summer days, as well as refreshing chilled soups. (Submitted by Jason Lynch)

Chilled heirloom tomato soup

  • 6 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced.
  • 2 cups chilled chicken or vegetable stock.
  • 1 cup 18% cream.
  • ¼ cup light sour cream.
  • Sea salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Dried kalamata olives.
  • 6 basil leaves.
  • 1 tbsp canola oil.
  • 1 can club soda.

Purée tomatoes and sour cream until smooth; slowly add chicken stock and cream. Pass through medium strainer, season and place in fridge overnight.

Remove pits from olives and dry in low temperature oven. When dry, crumble into small pieces. Purée basil with canola oil until smooth.

Before serving whisk half a can of club soda into soup. Place in bowls and garnish with black olives and basil oil.

Heirloom tomatoes are the key to Lynch's cool summery soup. (Alphonsine Sabine/Shutterstock)

What you said

Dozens of you offered your suggestions for hot-weather meals on Facebook.

Many suggested grabbing takeout from a restaurant or grocery store and having a picnic on the beach.

Katharine MacDonald of Halifax showed us her cold soba noodle salad with veggies and pork belly. She usually makes them with a homemade peanut/soy/garlic sauce and lots of cold crunchy julienned vegetables, she said. 

Katharine MacDonald stays cool with cold soba noodle salad with veggies and pork belly. (Submitted by Katharine MacDonald )

Susan Lea Manning said she made curry one hot day, to "meet the heat with heat."

"I love Salade Niçoise in these hot days," commented Claude Henry Arsenault. "White tuna, olives, boiled eggs, cucumber, tomato, and new potatoes or pasta all in a homemade dressing with lots of fresh thyme." 

David Rashed's suggestion: "a great cool Mediterranean dish my family made when we were growing up is yogurt and cucumber salad. Light plain yogurt, diced cucumber, minced garlic and topped with fresh dried mint. Cool and delicious," he said.

You can make summer rolls many different ways. (The Goods/CBC)

Jesse Hitchcock makes summer rolls — spinach, carrot, cucumber, pepper, smoked tofu, avocado and cilantro in a rice paper wrap. dipped in peanut sauce. Find a recipe from CBC here

Gazpacho, cold rice pudding with fresh fruit, watermelon and halloumi cheese were more suggestions.

More P.E.I. news


Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email


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