Ten-Minute Cooking

Many years ago, Edouard de Pomiane wrote an engaging book called French Cooking in Ten Minutes.  I have loved that book for decades -- more for its ideology than any recipe in particular.  Reading it gives you a sense of being "present,"  and at the brink of cooking-in-the-moment.  The book calls for quite a few ingredients culled from the cupboard, cans and such, but I was thinking of all the fresh recipes one could make gleaning the season's best ingredients from the farmer's market.  Those gorgeous tomatoes?  In ten minutes I sliced a whole platter of them, drizzled on extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and ground cumin, then showered the arrangement with a blanket of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.  (I have recently discovered that umami-laden tomatoes have great affinity with cumin.)  Or how about a lovely pea soup laced with wasabi and mint, buttermilk and shallots?  I love the purple scallions now available at the Union Square Market and have taken to simply sautéing a pan full, with bits of prosciutto to pour over a filet of broiled bluefish. My dear friend, Arthur (the food maven), has taken to eating "crudo" at home -- thin slices of raw tuna drizzled with his best olive oil, lemon, hot pepper and salt.  You can make my 500-Degree Cod with Macadamia Butter & Radicchio in 10 minutes and roast an entire sheet pan of plump mussels at the same time.  And this is the season when nothing satisfies quite like a big juicy sun-dried tomato burger or a sirloin steak topped with Magic Green Sauce -- you must try it -- recipe below!  This sauce, which transforms almost anything -- from a simple grilled chicken paillard to roasted asparagus to a pan full of soft-scrambled eggs (also from the farmer's market), takes only minutes to make and four simple ingredients.

Ten-minute desserts are also exciting.  Soon will come the joy of pairing fleshy peaches with fresh basil (and a splash of peach schnapps), and fragrant strawberries under a blanket of freshly-made emerald green mint sugar.  I just brought home a quart of berries which my family loved -- you can tell by their color -- almost purple -- that they were going to taste great.

With a nod to Pomiane, I offer, in my book Radically Simple, more than three dozen salads, perfect for this time of year, in a chapter simply called "10-Minute Salads." 'Tis the season.  Check it out.

Magic Green Sauce (from Radically Simple) From a platter of tomatoes to a juicy charred steak, this is a sauce that transforms.  The flavors coalesce so that even guests who don't think they like cilantro probably will.

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves with a bit of their stems 1/2 cup capers, plus 2 tablespoons brine 2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white parts only 6 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the cilantro, capers, brine, and scallions in a food processor.  Slowly add the oil and 2 tablespoons water; process until almost smooth.  Add salt and pepper.