Many years ago, Edouard de Pomiane wrote an engaging book called French Cooking in Ten Minutes. I have loved that book for decades — more for its ideology than any recipe in particular. Reading it gives you a sense of being “present,” and at the brink of cooking-in-the-moment. The book calls for quite a few ingredients culled from the cupboard, cans and such, but I was thinking of all the fresh recipes one could make gleaning the season’s best ingredients from the farmer’s market. Those gorgeous tomatoes? In ten minutes I sliced a whole platter of them, drizzled on extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and ground cumin, then showered the arrangement with a blanket of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. (I have recently discovered that umami-laden tomatoes have great affinity with cumin.) Or how about a lovely pea soup laced with wasabi and mint, buttermilk and shallots? I love the purple scallions now available at the Union Square Market and have taken to simply sautéing a pan full, with bits of prosciutto to pour over a filet of broiled bluefish.
My dear friend, Arthur (the food maven), has taken to eating “crudo” at home — thin slices of raw tuna drizzled with his best olive oil, lemon, hot pepper and salt. You can make my 500-Degree Cod with Macadamia Butter & Radicchio in 10 minutes and roast an entire sheet pan of plump mussels at the same time. And this is the season when nothing satisfies quite like a big juicy sun-dried tomato burger or a sirloin steak topped with Magic Green Sauce — you must try it — recipe below! This sauce, which transforms almost anything — from a simple grilled chicken paillard to roasted asparagus to a pan full of soft-scrambled eggs (also from the farmer’s market), takes only minutes to make and four simple ingredients.
Ten-minute desserts are also exciting. Soon will come the joy of pairing fleshy peaches with fresh basil (and a splash of peach schnapps), and fragrant strawberries under a blanket of freshly-made emerald green mint sugar. I just brought home a quart of berries which my family loved — you can tell by their color — almost purple — that they were going to taste great.
With a nod to Pomiane, I offer, in my book Radically Simple, more than three dozen salads, perfect for this time of year, in a chapter simply called “10-Minute Salads.” ‘Tis the season. Check it out.
Magic Green Sauce (from Radically Simple)
From a platter of tomatoes to a juicy charred steak, this is a sauce that transforms. The flavors coalesce so that even guests who don’t think they like cilantro probably will.
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves with a bit of their stems
1/2 cup capers, plus 2 tablespoons brine
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white parts only
6 tablespoons olive oil
Combine the cilantro, capers, brine, and scallions in a food processor. Slowly add the oil and 2 tablespoons water; process until almost smooth. Add salt and pepper.