Friday, June 21, 2013

A meal of gathered ingredients

Earlier this year I posted this picture on Facebook:


My caption read: "On a lazy Saturday in January...lunch of a few of my favorite things (Clementines, Medjool Dates, Almonds & Manchego Cheese). Sometimes you don't need to cook... "

This is so true....you don't always need to cook to eat well. Frankly, sometimes you can't cook...you're too tired...too busy or stressed out...too --- something. But these occasions don't have to be occasions when you eat processed or fast food. The idea that a meal has to be cooked—by you or someone else (or in the case of fast and/or processed food, by an industrial processing facility)—is narrow and limiting. Some of the very best meals—like my January lunch—are simply gathered. Or, as in the case of our dinner last Sunday night, made up of a combination gathered and minimally cooked items.


I should clarify that when I say "gathered", I don't mean foraged. Although a meal of sautéed fiddleheads and morels that I had gathered on a long walk would be delicious, it isn't what I have in mind here. No, the kind of meal I'm talking about is one that features a few quality purchased items—items that, when combined thoughtfully, make a meal. Your gathered items can be any number of things— a delicious pâté, cured sausage or cheese...maybe some olives or some purchased pickled or marinated vegetables...fresh, perfectly ripe fruit or some soft, chewy dried fruits...a few nuts (freshly roasted)...simply prepared fresh vegetables (maybe with a nice purchased or leftover sauce...pesto...aioli...salsa verde...)...a small handful of baby lettuces, dressed with a drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon...a nice crusty loaf of bread or some tasty crackers... You get the idea. Whatever you serve, just make sure that it is something you love and is of a quality that pleases you.

I don't think any complicated recipe I might have prepared would have been any better than the meal we had this past Sunday evening. It was simplicity at its best. A delicious, oozy goat Robiola, a nice crusty loaf of raisin walnut bread,


and market fresh, early summer vegetables...simply prepared.


The beets were roasted and dressed with sherry vinegar and olive oil. The snap peas were blanched and tossed with olive oil and fleur de sel. The new potatoes (freshly dug...the first of the season) were poached in a small amount of water and olive oil and were finished with more olive oil and chives from my garden. A perfect meal.


The only thing that would have made our dinner better would have been a nice dry Rosé...but I didn't happen to have any in the house...and my "gathering" for this particular meal didn't extend to exerting myself to make a run to the store.

1 comment:

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

What wonderful "gathered" ingredients - lovely, healthy and delicious
Mary x