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Food for thought: Best served cold

By Jason Wong
On April 16, 2014

My plan for today's column was to write about foods that are best served chilled or at room temperature, as the weather was warming up and it seemed spring was well under way. Even though that's sadly not the case, today's column will still be about cold food. After all, the cold isn't all bad. Besides the obvious standards like ice cream, fruit and (potato, pasta) salad, there are actually plenty of foods that are served cold and are delicious.
The first food that pops into my head when I think "best served cold" is gazpacho. Gazpacho is a usually tomato-based soup that is traditionally served in Spain and Portugal, and of course, it is traditionally served cold. Gazpacho is a very refreshing soup, and thus is usually served in the summer. Despite its relative simplicity, there are a few varieties of gazpacho worth mentioning. In Rota, gazpacho is often made with less water than is typical, which can give it the consistency of cream or dip. In Extremadura, gazpacho is more of a puree, thickened by the addition of bread crumbs. Other versions of gazpacho include stewed meat and/or large pieces of vegetable.
Another great food that is served cold is ceviche, a seafood dish popular in Central and South America. It is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt and coriander, may also be added. I had the opportunity to try ceviche for the first time this past weekend, and it blew me away. It was served as a sort of dip for these fried plantain chips, and the sweetness of the chips combined well with the savory tastes of the spices and raw tuna. Of course, like any food with raw seafood, there is a risk of food poisoning, so when you do eat it or prepare it yourself, make sure that the proper precautions have been taken to minimize risk.
If you're looking for something a little less adventurous, give tabbouleh salad a try. It's of Levantine Arab origin, and is generally made with bulgur (a cereal food made from several different wheat species), tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt, although there are various other variations such as adding garlic or lettuce, and using couscous instead of bulgur.
Anyway, I hope you seize the opportunity when the warm weather finally decides to stick to try some of the foods that I've described above. They're well worth your while, and I can guarantee you'll discover that revenge isn't the only dish that's best served cold.

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