One way of staying out of the kitchen at meal times during the hot summer weather is to serve cold roast meats or cold fish that was baked in the oven. But don’t you have to be in the kitchen at some time to do the oven work?

You most certainly do, but you can choose the time of day. It doesn’t have to be when the thermometer is at its highest. A Spanish friend, and a keen family cook, every year relies on cold roast meats and fish for summer lunches and dinners. But she does her roasts and bakes her whole fish at night or in the early hours of the morning when the heat is more bearable.

When it’s time for eating she has roast meats and baked fish in the fridge that she uses as main courses with a selection of suitable cold side dishes and salads. She does cold soups as starters, sipped from suitable glasses. It is easy, however, to get a bit bored with even a good choice of nicely roasted meats and baked fish. My friend rings up the changes by serving meats and fish with a couple of cold sauces that can also be made in advance. This is obviously a sensible solution to staying out of the kitchen at the hottest times of the day.

Even those with only basic cooking skills can manage roast meats because most of them look after themselves once they are in the oven — but you must get roasting times right.
When my friend first started making full use of her oven during the summer, her biggest problem was setting up a repertoire of suitable cold sauces.

These sauces exist and it was simply a case of discovering them. Over the years she built up a nice selection which she keeps adding to in order to have as much variety as possible.
It’s convenient to have an interesting assortment of cold sauces in your culinary bag of tricks because some of them are multi-functional and can double as salad dressings, dips or spreads. That means, among other things, they can be used as stand-by starters for impromptu meals or components of a small lunch or dinner buffet.

Here are a few cold sauces that are ideal for everyone’s repertoire because some of them make summer starters when served with fresh crusty baguette.

ORANGE MINT. This is superb with cold or hot roast lamb. It makes a pleasant change from traditional mint sauce when doing a Sunday roast leg of lamb.
Put 125 mls of top quality red wine vinegar into a suitable saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the vinegar over 125 grs finely chopped fresh mint (hierbabuena, easily bought at market stalls and El Corte Inglés). Add 4 tbsps of granulated sugar, 125 mls of fresh orange juice and 1 tbsp grated zest of orange. Leave in the fridge until next day and stir well before using.

AU JUS. An ideal sauce for those days (or nights) when you have roasted a a nice piece of ternera, such as entrecôte or a suitable chump from the rump.
Pound a large peeled garlic clove in a mortar with a little salt until reduced to a paste. Stir in a tablespoon of good red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and coarsely ground black pepper to taste.
Slowly drizzle in 100 mls virgen extra olive oil, stirring non-stop with the pestle. Add three or four tablespoons of juices from the roast beef pan and stir vigorously with the pestle until well blended.
This makes a superb sauce for cold and hot roast beef and it also works beautifully as a dressing for a plain salad done with the sturdy leaves of romaine, iceberg or baby gem lettuces.

RAVIGOTE. A good sauce to have at hand. It is easily made with any variety of herbs or tender salad greens.
Choose a big bunch of fresh herbs from the following: parsley, chives, cress, thyme, savory, marjoram, chervil, watercress or tarragon.
You will also need a heaped teaspoon of good quality capers, three anchovy fillets, the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, virgen extra olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste — but go easy with it. This is an elegant sauce and it mustn’t have a strong vinegar taste.
Chop the herbs roughly and pound in a mortar with the chopped anchovies, capers and a little black pepper. Add the egg yolk and pound until the mixture is smooth. Drizzle in 3 tbsps of virgen extra olive oil, stirring with the pestle, as if making mayonnaise.

SKORTHALIA. This famous Greek sauce appeals to those who like lots of garlic. Others can always use less garlic. You will need: 4 large peeled and sliced garlic cloves, 4 medium slices of crustless day-old bread soaked in water for 10 minutes, 2 tbsps red wine vinegar plus salt to taste, 4-5 tbsps virgen extra olive oil, 50 grs crushed walnuts, boiled for five minutes to remove the skins.
Squeeze excess water from the bread, leaving it a little moist. Mallorcan pan moreno gives the best texture. Blitz the bread, garlic and vinegar, adding the olive oil little by little, as if making mayonnaise.
Then add the well-pounded skinless walnuts. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water.
Skorthalia is served in a bowl and makes an ideal dip for toasted pita bread and batons of raw veggies such as carrots, cucumber, celery and thin segments of baby gem lettuce.
It also works nicely with grilled or fried white fish of any kind and it gives a huge lift to the cold flesh of a boiled chicken.

NORWEGIAN. This sauce is versatile and can be used with a variety of dishes, making it ideal for a buffet table.
Mash the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs with a fork and add them 250 mls of homemade mayonnaise. Stir in 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp finely chopped parsley and 1 tsp each of dried dill and French tarragon.

PARISIENNE. Tins or jars of white asparagus are a good stand-by for summer meals because they make simple impromptu starters. Try asparagus with this sauce which is easily and quickly made.
Cream two small Gervais cheeses (available at El Corte Inglés) until smooth and add salt to taste and add a little paprika. Slowly drizzle in two or three tablespoons of virgen extra olive oil, as if making mayonnaise, and add lemon juice to taste.
Finish off the sauce by stirring in one tablespoon of finely chopped chervil, also available at El Corte Inglés.

NIÇOISE. This is a robust sauce bursting with flavour that is ideal for cold cuts of roast pork and boiled beef. Try it with short and long pasta served at room temperature and also with cold rice boiled al dente.
Peel six large ripe tomatoes, cut them in half, scrape out and discard the seeds. Chop the tomato flesh and then pound in a mortar until reduced to a paste. Stir in a small amount of virgen extra olive oil and some finely chopped parsley. Transfer to a suitable bowl. Pound three anchovy fillets and a garlic clove until reduced to a paste and add the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs.
Mash until very smooth and slowly drizzle in three tablespoons of virgen extra olive oil, stirring non-stop with the pestle.
Stir in a good red wine vinegar and black pepper to taste, and add to the tomato pulp in the bowl. Just before serving, add a heaped tablespoon of pitted and chopped Mallorcan black panssides olives, or those from Aragón. Black olives are the hallmark of dishes with the Niçoise name. In a dish that contains anchovies and olives there should be no need for extra salt.