The best fast food takes the longest
The idea of writing about quick meals was suggested to me and it was a tussle and struggle to figure out what people want and what they are able to achieve.
When I want food quickly I do not want to think, I do not want to consult a cookbook or an article. I won’t be peeling, washing or cutting anything if I can help it. I will however slice my own bread every time.
I was once part of a team that catered for the ‘godfather’ of the slow food movement. This was a momentous occasion for me and my peers. It still inspires me to this day thinking of the rhubarb frangipane tarts, the slow braised shins of beef. The tenderly marinated spring vegetables gently simmered to simple perfection. This will be my muse for the day.
So what to do? I believe we should look to the slow and tedious from days past to enrich our days present and future. If we must prepare we should do so on a grandiose scale. If we are to roast a beast it should be a large one. If we are to boil an egg, boil two. And here’s hoping if we get the urge to pickle something, we buy out the whole basket of veggies (and tackle the thrifty for jars whilst we are at it).
Preserves and pickles are the heart of any quick meal and a cupboard, pantry or fridge well stocked should inspire a shoulder slouching softness that will melt your dining stresses away. Foresight is not even required as we have an abundance of jarred and canned things here in town that offer an array of the most fabulous and exotic.
This is a recipe for laziness, to be recreated at any an hour of the day.
Take a large slice of bread or leftover salad or why not even smash an old frozen pie crust from the freezer and bake that as your base (it is only 10 minutes on a high heat).
Throw previously roasted veg from any previous culinary encounter into a warm pan, this is truly the easiest thing to cook in bulk so we may as well.
For the Meaters, warm thin slices or lazily torn shreds of meat, possibly even home-cured into a the pan in the same manner
Whilst this heats, drape pickles over your chosen easy base.
Then the cheffy touch- add the liquid from your pickles and preserves to your pan of veg and or meat for the best and brightest sauce.
Warm unctuous jams melting with rich roasted or cured flavours. Spikes of acidity from anything pickled and a hearty base of something wonderfully familiar, giving you a dish in less than 15 that is better than most professional menus (hardly a dish to wash too).
And please, someone, treat yourself to a jar of baby octopus and a nice truffle oil, toss over a pasta that takes just 5 minutes to boil. Are you eating better pasta in Revelstoke than those in Rome? I believe you are, good for you.
Lemon oil for easy dressings
Peel the lemon gently (minimal white please) and pop the skins into the oil.
Leave for a while and then finally remember it in a few months and enjoy.