Thursday, August 3, 2017

No Recipe Recipe

What? Say that again? The "No Recipe Recipe"? What is that?
Greens, zucchini, potatoes, lemon juice and olive oil.
For my summertime eating, this is the easiest "no recipe recipe" and it's traditional Greek cooking. In salted boiling water, you cook zucchini and potatoes; when done, remove to a large bowl and stir in the greens that you have (spinach, kale, Swiss chard...). When the greens are tender, add them to the large bowl. Now comes the hard part (just kidding). Squeeze lemon juice over everything and then drizzle on a good extra-virgin olive oil. When do you know you've added enough? Pull aside some of the vegetables and look at the accumulated liquids (oil, lemon juice and cooking water that came over with the veggies). There should be a nice mix of all three. You're done!

Serve this with a crunchy loaf of bread, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives and maybe a few wedges of tomato on the side. This is a super-healthy meal, and it comes together in no time...almost no time.

Sometimes, I have broccoli and no potatoes, so I use the broccoli and zucchini. No problem.

Consider that you already have many "no recipe recipes" in your bag of cooking tricks.

How about that salad that you pull together at the last minute? Have you ever made an omelet and stuffed it with a mix of vegetables that you had in your refrigerator? Or did you perhaps fill it with bits and pieces of different cheeses and top it with some of the salsa you had in the fridge from two nights ago? Maybe you cooked linguine, then managed to saute a red onion with olive oil and garlic, brown up leftover ham and toss in chopped tomatoes, some fresh basil from the garden and half a bag of peas from the freezer? Maybe you added a splash of white wine, some heavy cream and a bit of Parmesan cheese at the end? Yup! You're already cooking freestyle and without a recipe!

Another of my go-to "no recipe recipes" is broiled eggplant. It's faster and easier under the broiler, but you can also grill the eggplant. Here's what I do: Slice eggplant lengthwise (about 1/4 to 1/2 and inch thick). Lay them out on a large sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Broil until golden-brown and turn over to brown the other side. Remove to a large platter and sprinkle liberally with grated Parmesan cheese. If you have fresh parsley or basil available and the time to give it a quick chop, you can sprinkle some of that on top. You can also serve with homemade or store-bought tomato sauce on the side.

Do you have a "no recipe recipe that you'd like to share?

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