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(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

heat wave

Baby, it’s hot outside. Let’s make bouillabaisse in the pool Add to ...

“A portion of these oven-like conditions will graze southern Ontario with rather uncomfortable warmth.” – Environment Canada

Oven-like conditions will set in today near mid-morning, at which point taking the dog for a walk will feel like baking in an Inglis 30-inch electric range with Ceran cooktop, an entry-level model perfect for first-time home buyers that features a single 220-volt element.

These temperatures will be ideal for large roasts, duck confit, parfaits and pork belly. Thanks to the high humidity, cuts of beef that ordinarily require braising, such as inside or outside round, will do perfectly well rolled in sea salt and rosemary and placed in a pan next to a bus stop.

As we approach noon, the downtown core will feel like a Wolf 60-inch dual-fuel stainless-steel range set to “convection bake” next to a roaring fire. Dip your fingers in water and fling drops at the hot sidewalk. If they puff into steam, it’s perfect baguette-baking weather.

Cakes, chicken and root vegetables, meanwhile, will do well under the shade of a large tree – just be sure to set a timer so as to not overcook anything. Sewer grates will be ideal for grilling thick T-bones.

By the early hours of the afternoon, the city will experience some of the best searing conditions in years. Sizzle foie gras on hot asphalt for 40 seconds a side, then finish it under car exhaust until the interior reaches medium. Quarter-inch strips of ultra-marbled Japanese wagyu can be fried on mailboxes, shingled roofs or the 401, then dipped in the evaporated residue of ponzu sauce. And with a garbage bag full of fish heads, an outdoor pool can easily be converted to bouillabaisse.

By 3 p.m., temperatures will approximate the interior of a Neapolitan wood-fired pizza oven burning kiln-dried first-growth oak – conditions the city has only ever experienced twice since records have been kept. Dough should be made mid-morning and “retarded” three hours so that yeasts can develop.

Roll it gently so as not to overwork the glutens, then drape the pie over a fire hydrant and watch the dough blister and puff up before your eyes. In three minutes the edges will be charred and the cheesy topping will be burbling and gooey (any longer and the bottom will burn).

Please note: Outdoor cooking without a heat-resistant “volcano suit” is inadvisable at least until Tuesday.

Temperatures will peak toward 4 p.m., at which point most of southern Ontario will be indistinguishable from the interior of a Tuttnauer EZ-9 Autoclave Sterilizer and anyone with a trunk full of dirty medical instruments will find they are surgery-ready.

Caution: at these temperatures, open cans of light beer have been known to self-flambé.


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