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Cooking with Heat: Chef Eric Schawaroch

We all look forward to the end of winter when the warm summer breezes return. Friends and family come out of hibernation and it is time to party, which for me means eating. The days of pot roasts and stews are behind me until next winter. In the heat of the summer, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or stand over a stove. My thoughts turn to the outdoor BBQ grill or, if forced by nature, cooking something quickly inside. I also don’t need to have lots of protein when it is hot. Cool salads, sides, and condiments work well to complement the main course.

  • When preparing food for the grill or pan, think of using a marinade or dry rub to add flavor.
  • When you go to cook on the grill, consider making shish kebab or any kind of dish using skewers that have bite-sized pieces and will cook quickly. These can either be all meat, seafood, or vegetables, or a combination of both.
  • If you just can’t live without a large piece of meat, Southern BBQ brisket that can be slow cooked in a covered grill or crock pot with little attention makes for a delicious meal.
  • Indoors, a stir fry of shrimp, pork, beef, or chicken cooks quickly and provides lots of flavor.
  • Visit the farmers market and look for what’s in season. Tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, snap peas and leafy greens all go together to make a great salad.
  • Salsa made from watermelon, peaches, or tomatoes, and guacamoles are great warm weather accompaniments.

What is nice about all of these things that they are easy to prepare, cool and refreshing, can be assembled in advance, and quickly cooked while you are sipping on a cold beer or cocktail in the company of friends…and staying cool.

Chef Schawaroch is an associate professor of culinary arts at the Hyde Park campus. A 1984 graduate of the CIA, he twice captained the CIA team to grand prizes at the Société Culinaire Philanthropique Salon of Culinary Art.

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