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Feb 26, 2009 03:40 PM

Fantastically simple fantastic meals...

There are some dishes that are so incredibly simple to make, yet the "sum of the whole" is always much greater than the parts. A couple of days ago I made mussel stew. Sweat onions, add a little garlic, a couple of pounds of mussels, some white wine, a little chopped parsley, some milk. It was incredibly good, and that's what started me thinking about the really simple dishes that can really knock your socks off. No special sauces. You don't need three pans and fifteen mis en place dishes. It cooks quick and you and everyone you share it with are happy you did it.

Do you have a favorite fantastically simple fantastic meal?.

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  1. Crispy pan fried salmon. Heat pan to medium-hot. Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides of a with-skin salmon fillet. Drizzle olive oil in pan. Place salmon in pan skin side down, watch for color change 2/3 way up the fillet, flip, and finish. A simple green salad or steamed veg (mmmm, asparagus) and maybe rosemary potatoes done in the oven. If I'm feelin' froggy, I might deglaze the salmon pan with a splash of white wine and a squirt of lemon and swirl in a bit butter. Dinner in 40 min (cuz the potatoes take longer).

    1. Lamb-Noodles Romanoff - I put it in the Recipes section.

      1. My unexpected guests for dinner depends on having nori, rice, canned tuna, Viet rice paper rounds, and dried pastas in the pantry; stocks, spices, corn tortillas, and fish in the freezer; and meats, cheeses, eggs, shredded chicken, vegetables, caviar, and fruit in the ref.

        Then the possibilities are endless: makizushi rolls with canned tuna and/or julienned Japanese omelet and my pickled ginger; Viet spring rolls/Filipino fresh lumpia; pastas with uncooked sauces; quick Asian or Mexican fish soup/stew; breakfast caviar arugula mozz omelet; musubi with roast chicken (the classic simple and good); simple scratch thin crust no rise pizza; fish cioppino; tacos with ground spiced ground meat, grated cheese, tomato, lettuce, home made sauce; and so much more. Also possible are anything from a good cheeseburger or steak sandwich to a quick stir-fry.

        But my fave for the moment, as I’ve mentioned before, is doing an artichoke in the microwave and making simple makizushi (rolls) for my daughter and me before she goes back to be with her mother for a week after a week with me.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Doing an artichoke in the microwave? Tell us more.

          1. re: Sharuf

            I learned that here from other hounds. Trim and wash the artichoke, leaving the residual moisture in the artichoke. Place in glass bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap (or glass lid). Nuke for 4 1/2 minutes. Come out perfect.

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Do you wash it in acidulated water?

              1. re: CindyJ

                I just run it under a lot of water and then pop into the MW - too quick for it to start oxidizing.

                1. re: Sharuf

                  The ones here are smaller than those from Watsonville. I guess mine are about the size of a medium grapefruit. Another tip I find useful: buy artichokes according to stem diameter - thicker stem = more heart.

          2. I make seafood pouches in parchment paper, some frozen spinach, fresh fish, veggies of your choice, butter, lemon and herbs, a little white wine and close up and bake on a cookie sheet (NO pans) Serve in the pouch, a great dish.

            3 Replies
            1. re: kchurchill5

              You can also just pop the pouch in the microwave. Talk about quick and easy!

              1. re: alanbarnes

                I did once and yes it did seem ok. Always use the oven, but I suppose it works fine. I usually make 4-6 at the time so the micro may not work, but for 1 or 2 it could.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  Agreed that if you're cooking a bunch of servings, the oven is the way to go. But for a single meal, the microwave is quicker and more efficient.

            2. Nach Waxman's Beef brisket from the Silver Palate New Basics (but you can google the recipe...) 4 ingredients. Flat cut brisket, onions, tomato paste, salt & pepper & garlic & carrot (ok...7 ingredients; but do S&P count?....) The only thing you need is time and patience.

              2 Replies
              1. re: adamshoe

                My favorite beef bourguignon recipe is from this book... I may try the brisket this week-end. What is your favorite thing to serve it with?

                1. re: akp

                  akp: I like latkes or a sweet noodle kugel. If you make it, go with more than 1 (1!) carrot and I use up to 12 onions. The aroma and flavor of this dish is outstanding and belies it's simplicity, plus it's even better the second or third day (if it lasts that long!) I'm not sure it's in the Silver palate book, but definitely in New Basics or available online. Nach Waxman owns the ultimate cookbook store in NYC. adam