Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Manger à trois
Only got three edible things in your fridge? Brilliant - that's supper sorted, says Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his new book
Written by Carolyn HartHugh’s new book, plus the 50-episode television series that goes with it sprang, he says, from an idea that ‘struck me pretty much out of nowhere… that so many of the recipes I was creating at home, and indeed many that I was enjoying cooking or eating from other writers and chefs, had something in common. They were little more, and little less, than three good things on a plate.’
Thus his book is a collection of recipes involving just that: only three things: scallops, bacon and pea purée, for instance; ham, egg and chips; rhubarb crumble and custard; baked potato, baked beans and Cheddar cheese.
You get the picture. It sounds deliciously simple – get rid of all the ridiculous, extraneous detail that puffs up the majority of cookbooks and go back to basics. It’s a great idea, even if Hugh’s three things on a plate (which don’t include ingredients such as bay leaves, seasoning, onions, wine and so on) are often a lot more fancy than the three things you might find in the back of your fridge. Fish, coconut, coriander, lobster, cucumber, apple, chocolate, prunes, brandy…
It’s like a great new kitchen game – look in your fridge, see what’s there and discover whether Hugh can supply a recipe.
Hugh’s Three Good Things On A Plate, with photographs by Simon Wheeler, is published by Bloomsbury, priced £25
Pasta, sausage, cabbage
- 1 tbsp rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil
- 4 large butcher’s sausages (or 8 smaller bangers)
- 300g pasta shapes, such as fusilli or penne
- Green cabbage, such as Savoy, tough ribs removed, shredded
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sausages and fry them fairly gently, turning often, for at least 10 minutes, until they are golden brown all over and pretty much cooked through. Take out the sausages and cut them into bite-sized chunks, then return to the hot pan and fry for another 5 minutes or so to crisp and rough up the cut surfaces.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it well and add the pasta. Cook according to the time suggested on the packet until al dente, adding the cabbage about 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Once cooked, drain the pasta and cabbage well and add to the chunks of hot sausage and any juices in the frying pan. Toss well, add some salt and pepper if needed, and serve straight away.
Tip You can use any greens in this recipe, including spring greens, kale, cavolo nero and Brussels tops. Spinach is very good too, but wilt it with the sausage chunks, rather than add it to the pasta water.
Chicken, tomatoes, tarragon
1 free-range chicken (about 1.8kg), jointed into 8 pieces (or a similar weight of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces)
2 tbsp olive oil
Glass of white wine (or use water if you prefer)
Juice of one lemon
About 500g ripe tomatoes (any shape or size), halved or quartered
A bunch of tarragon, leaves only, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Season the chicken pieces well all over with salt and pepper. You’ll probably need to sear them in two batches.
Heat the olive oil in large, nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the chicken and sear, turning the pieces several times, until they are golden brown all over. Transfer, skin side up, to an oven dish or roasting tin.
Now, to deglaze the frying pan, pour in the wine and let it bubble over the heat, stirring well to scrape up any bits of caramelised chicken from the bottom. Pour the liquid from the pan into the oven dish (but not directly over the chicken). Add the lemon juice and give the chicken skin an extra scattering of salt and pepper.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Take the dish from the oven, uncover and add the tomatoes, nestling them, cut side up as far as possible, among the chicken pieces. Roast, uncovered, for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and blistered. Scatter over most of the tarragon and toss to mix.
Rest for a few minutes so the tarragon flavour infuses the juices.
Sprinkle over the remaining chopped tarragon and the dish is ready to serve. It’s good with new potatoes, mash, rice or bread.
Tip If you can’t lay your hands on fresh tarragon, try this with flat-leaf parsley – using about three times as much. Or try roughly shredded sorrel leaves. In each case, the effect is quite different, but still delicious.
Daily tip from the lady archive
“A GRACEFUL walk is a great asset, for sometimes it can create an illusion of beauty where little exists.”The Lady. Pleasant Exercises for Grace. 2nd April 1931