Keeping It Simple
Easy Weeknight One Pot Recipes
How to have dinner on the table in the time it takes you to drink a glass of wine
Article by Linda Kissam
Recipes excerpted with permission from Keeping It Simple by Yasmin Fahr, published by Hardie Grant
Two recipes included with this article
You have to love a cookbook whose author’s motto is to help YOU, “… have dinner on the table in the time that it takes you to drink a glass of wine.” I’ll vote for that…and the fact that in Keeping It Simple by Yasmin Fahr, there will likely be only one pot or pan to clean afterward. Mix all that good stuff with the fact the recipes are created so that anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in the kitchen can master them. I should have your attention now, right?
This is the first book by Yasmin Fahr, who has also contributed to Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, TASTE, and other food and recipe sites. Like many chefs, Ms. Fahr has her favorite pantry items. Hers include things like ghee, lemon, coconut milk, sambal, ground cumin, and white miso. Recipes were created to feed two people. This is not a book for those who are looking for nondescript flavors. It is an excellent book to keep in your repertoire to make flavor-filled fast meals showcasing the full taste spectrum.
I think you’ll like the four recipe icons included throughout the book. Think of them as your personal coach. The first one is the “efficiency moves,” which is basically short tips on how to approach the recipe. It tells you where to start and what to do to maximize your prep and cooking time
The second is “recipe notes” which are just small tips on how to work with the recipe, like making the marinade the night before or how to debeard mussels. You’ll want to pay attention to this information!
The third icon talks to” ingredient swaps and variations.” This is your tweaking coach. Think how to swap out items you hate, using seasonal ingredient or how to include a favorite ingredient.
The final one is “leftover notes.” I think you’ll find the author’s suggestions on how to use the leftovers to be creatively yummy. In example, the author suggests when making the Coconut Rice recipe, the next day, “Add oil to a hot pan, mix in the rice until warm and stir in 1-2 eggs to make a delicious, crispy fried rice dish.” Yum.
The one pot/pan recipes cover dishes like Miso-Ghee Chicken, Panzanella, Weeknight Curry, Quickie Coconut Mussels, Garlicky Charred Greens, and Adult Instant Ramen. The photos are plush and inviting, giving the home cook a good idea of what success looks like when finished.
Fahr gives a lot of guidance and mentoring throughout the softcover book. Just relax, have a glass of wine and victory will arrive. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and dig into the recipes. As the author proclaims, “The softcover is meant to be spilled and splattered on.” Good advice. Just sayin’…
Take this book for a spin via this incredibly delicious 30 minute recipe.
SIMPLE WHOLE FISH WITH CHARRED CITRUS
During an island boat excursion from Santorini, we ate what can only be described as simplicity at its best: grilled octopus; a Greek salad with plump, red tomatoes, fresh, crunchy cucumbers and blocks of feta, and a simple whole grilled fish. As we devoured the meal, sitting along the water, we remarked, as I’m sure most people do in that situation, why don’t we eat and live like this at home? Yes, there are several factors, namely that, while Manhattan and the UK are both islands to an extent, they are of a very different variety than Santorini.
So the next couple of recipes are for when you want a taste of holidays at home with bright and bold flavours that take you back to a loved trip or perhaps encourage you to book a new one. Serve with a side salad.
Prep 5 minutes
Total 30 minutes
4 lemons, 3 with ends trimmed and sliced thinly, juice of 1
fresh herb sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary or oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 whole fish (450 g/1 lb each), such as trout, sea bass or branzino, scales and gills removed, scored (see recipe note) and gutted
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF/Gas 8) and place a baking tray (sheet pan) in the oven on the middle rack.
- Remove the baking tray. Place the lemons in 2 rows in the middle of the tray so that they are roughly the length of the fish and so they have enough space between them so that the 2 fish don’t touch when placed on top of the lemons. Place a herb sprig on top of the lemons. Generously oil and salt both sides of the fish and inside the cavities, rubbing into the slash marks. Then fill the cavity with remaining lemon and herbs, placing each fish on top of one row of lemons. Roast until the fish is opaque and easily flakes when touched with a fork and reaches 60ºC (140ºF) in the thickest part of the fish, typically near the spine, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes while you set up the table and mentally prepare yourself to carve it.
- After carving finish with lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Garnish the plates with some of the lemon slices and serve. (You should eat some of these lemon slices.)
Recipe notes: Score the fish: Using a paring knife, make diagonal slashes on both sides of the fish skin, about 2.5 cm (1 in) apart, moving from just below the collar to the base of the tail. It’s okay if you hit the meat as it will infuse it with the seasonings.
ROASTED WHOLE FISH WITH SALSA VERDE AND LEMONY POTATOES
A note from the author. One of my favourite places in Barcelona is La Paradeta, a casual seafood restaurant, where you pick out your seafood and choose how you want it cooked: razor clams, huge prawns (shrimp) and lobster tails are some of the best things to eat a la plancha (grilled) with a delicious herb-filled sauce drizzled on top. The room is sparse in style but full of lively, energetic people chatting away. This is my at-home version of that experience. Invite some friends over to liven it up.
Prep 5 minutes
Total 30 minutes
Whole roasted fish (see recipe above)
450 g (1 lb) baby potatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper
30 g (1 ¼ oz/1 packed cup) fresh parsley, leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped
30 g (1 oz/1 cup) mixed fresh herbs of your choice, such as coriander (cilantro), thyme, basil, mint or chives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers, roughly chopped
4 spring onions (scallions), white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes (optional)
juice of 1 ½ lemons, divided, or more to taste
120 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- Prepare the fish on a heated baking tray (sheet pan) as instructed above. Surround the fish with potatoes and dress the potatoes with 3 tablespoons olive oil, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the fish is opaque and easily flakes when touched with a fork and reaches 60ºC (140ºF) in the thickest part of the fish, typically near the spine, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes while you set up the table and mentally prepare yourself to carve it.
- While the fish is cooking, make the salsa verde. In a serving bowl, combine the parsley, other fresh herbs, capers, spring onions, chilli flakes, juice of 1/2 a lemon or more to taste and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the potatoes and juice of 1 lemon over the fish before serving. Divide between plates. Yay, you did it! Way to go. Please send me a photo, no matter how ugly or pretty you think it is. I think you did just great.
Efficiency moves: Make the salsa while the fish cooks, have a glass of wine and set the table.
Recipe notes: The salsa verde can be kept overnight in an airtight container in the fridge, if you want to make the chicken the next day.
Ingredient swap and variations: For different sides, use 2 navel oranges instead of lemons, layering the orange slices underneath the fish and on the baking tray. Slice 2 orange and red (bell) peppers, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay them around the fish to roast with it. They will get nice and charred. Serve with fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro), the orange slices and a good drizzle of olive oil.
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AUTHOR: Yasmin Fahr
BOOK: Keeping It Simple
PUBLISHER: Hardie Grant Books (ISBN 9781784882822)
RRP: $24.99 (Flexibound)
Photograph credit: Patricia Niven
Recipes excerpted with permission from Keeping It Simple by Yasmin Fahr, published by Hardie Grant Books February 2020, RRP $24.99 Flexibound.
Note from the reviewer: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided a free copy to me to perform a professional review. No fee was paid by the author for this review. I review only recommends books that I find to have value for my readers. Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.