15 minute wonders: Top chefs share their speedy suppers
Jamie isn't the only one who can rustle up something special in a quarter of an hour, says Gillian Orr.
Singapore chicken satay
Crush 300g of unsalted dry-roasted peanuts coarsely with a pestle and mortar or mini food-processor and set aside. Chop the spice-paste ingredients (six chillies, three cloves of garlic, three shallots, two lemon-grass stalks, one inch of ginger) and blend until fine.
Heat 60ml of oil and fry the spice paste until aromatic. Add the peanuts, 120ml of water, 7g of sugar, 15ml of sweet soy sauce and stir thoroughly. Simmer on a low heat while continually stirring for about three minutes until the peanut sauce turns smooth. Leave to cool.
In a large stainless-steel bowl, stir together one large red onion, two cloves of garlic, three stalks of lemon grass, 120ml of soy sauce, 15ml of peanut oil, 7g of ground turmeric, 7g of brown sugar, 2g of ground cumin, 2g of ground ginger, salt and pepper. Reserve about two tablespoons of marinade in a small bowl.
Mix 455g of chicken breasts (pounded thin) into the remaining marinade and stir to coat well. Preheat a grill pan at the top of the oven until very hot. Remove the chicken breasts from the bowl, and discard the used marinade. Cut each chicken breast on the diagonal into six long strips, and thread a chicken strip on to one of the skewers.
Grill the skewers, turning frequently and basting with the reserved marinade, until the chicken is cooked through with brown, crispy edges (about five to eight minutes per skewer). Serve it with a salad or some sticky rice.
Finely chop a couple of lemongrass stalks, a hunk of ginger, three cloves of garlic, a couple of chillies and a small handful of coriander.
Heat up a large wok and with a little drop of a neutral oil such as grapeseed or groundnut oil, then add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for a minute or so until softened.
Throw in one can of coconut milk and bring to the boil. Cover the wok or just put over a high heat for a couple of minutes, before adding a tablespoon of palm sugar and then the mussels – about half a kilo for two people. Cook for about five minutes until they open, discarding any that don't.
Add a dash of Thai fish sauce, the chopped coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can use raw prawns instead of mussels if you prefer (about 250g for two) but they would need only about three minutes in the coconut milk.
It goes well with fresh linguine, if you wish, which you should get boiling when you begin and, after draining it well, toss in with the mussels when they're ready.
Buy some fresh mackerel fillets from a fishmonger and get them to fillet them for you. Slice two carrots and two shallots. Take two oranges and peel three strips off an orange with a vegetable peeler and then squeeze the juice from both oranges into a bowl.
Take a heavy-bottom pan and add some olive oil. Sweat the carrots for a minute, add the shallots, then add half a teaspoon of coriander seed, half a teaspoon of fennel seed, one star anise and a sprig of thyme. Pour in 50ml of white wine and bring to the boil.
Add the orange skin that you peeled and the orange juice, and boil that. The carrots should take about seven or eight minutes to cook because they're cut very thinly. The lovely flavour of the carrots and orange juice and aromas will all come together.
If it starts to reduce a little too much, then add a drop more water, or fish stock if you have it, and when the carrots are cooked, take the mackerel fillets and put them on top of the braising liquid, just basting them slightly.
Then when the pan is very hot and smoky, take it off the heat and just clingfilm the top of the pan, leaving it to rest for two to three minutes. Because the pan is so hot, the fillets will cook through perfectly. There you have a very quick, healthy, tasty dish.
'Kitchin Suppers' by Tom Kitchin is out now (published by Quadrille, £20)
Fillet of salmon
If you want to cook something quickly, I think the best thing you can do is use great ingredients, simply because then you don't need to do very much to them to get great flavours. I would pan-fry a fillet of fresh salmon (with the skin on or off) and then make a potato or pasta salad to go with it.
Speed is in your larder and in your fridge; that's the most important thing. You should always try to maintain a stocked larder so you can just grab anything you need.
For the pasta salad I would use fresh pasta, so it's quick to cook (not tagliatelle or spaghetti), and then mix it with ingredients from your fridge: cheese, pesto sauce, herbs from the garden, vinaigrette, tomatoes, whatever.
You don't need to plan it, really; just ensure you always have good ingredients.
I would probably do a nice omelette with wild mushrooms and a salad and some good bread. Make sure you use extra-fresh eggs, put them in a bowl, whisk them well and season them.
Sauté some wild mushrooms; they're especially good if you do them in duck fat, but otherwise use butter. Add some shallots, garlic and parsley, then add that into the bowl of whisked eggs.
Pour the egg mixture into a very hot pan that has a little drop of oil in it and slowly shape the omelette, while you make a quick green salad. I think I'd probably have 10 minutes left, so I could drink a glass of wine while I'm waiting.
Italian sausages with lentils
To keep it under 15 minutes it's good to get a bit of help, so I would use tinned pulses, such as lentils or chickpeas. Put however many sausages you want under the grill or pan-fry them; I like Italian ones.
Braise a diced onion in olive oil (if you want to go a bit North African, then add some cumin, chilli and paprika to spice it up) and then add a tin of brown lentils which are already cooked so you're just heating them through, add a little bit of chicken stock and cook for about seven or eight minutes.
Then open a bag of baby-leaf spinach and fold into the lentils until they wilt. Serve it in a shallow bowl, a little bit soupy, with a dash of lemon juice to lighten it up. Slice the sausages and throw them on top. If you're feeling lazy you can just eat it with a spoon.
Pasta with tomato and pancetta
If I had 15 minutes, then I'd make a simple bowl of pasta with a pancetta-and-tomato sauce. You can make the sauce while you're cooking the pasta.
My recipe is using stuff you inevitably have in your fridge or larder anyway. So add the pasta to a boiling pan of water (generally I use spaghettini, which takes about 12 minutes). In another pan add a little drop of olive oil, about half a finely chopped onion and a touch of garlic, and sauté without colour.
Add some chopped bacon or pancetta and let that cook. Then add a tin of tomatoes (though you can always use fresh if you'd prefer), and cook them down for three or four minutes so it starts to form a thick sauce.
If you want a bit of a kick, add half a fresh chilli in with the garlic and onion or dried chilli at the end. Toss the drained pasta in the sauce and finish with some fresh parsley, marjoram or oregano. Easy.
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