Jamie Oliver Writes Another Cookbook For Real People
Five Ingredients Mediterranean is another cookbook I'll be keeping - here's why.
I receive many cookbooks in the mail (and purchase many more), and, while they’re pretty to look at let’s face it: The closest I’ve gotten to throwing a dinner party in five years is making a pot of chicken soup for me and my neighbor to share when we both had COVID a few weeks ago.
While I cook nearly every day, it’s usually a dish for one made in a pan. Oliver’s previous cookbook was a Godsend to people like me who enjoy flavor but simply do not have the time to prepare a meal for hours.
Well, Oliver’s done it again with his Five Ingredients: Mediterranean Simple Incredible Foods ($35).
This sunny, orange tome offers 125 different ingredients — each using only five ingredients. And those ingredients are not rare finds like Mermaid tears and white truffles — they’re items that you either have in your kitchen right now or that you can easily get at your local grocer!
Don’t think, however, that those five ingredients will lack flavor or depth. I don’t know how he does it, but Oliver manages to write recipes that omit the headaches while retaining the flavor.
Oliver shares his secret to Mediterranean cuisine early in the book by revealing the five ingredients that are a must for every Mediterranean pantry: Olive oil for cooking, extra virgin olive oil for dressing and finishing, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper.
And here’s the rub — the other recipes all use five ingredients in addition to those five pantry staples. So, they use up to ten ingredients — but who’s counting? In addition, each recipe is designed to take 30 minutes or less to prepare — a dream come true for us “real” people who don’t have three hours of prep time on a random Tuesday evening.
For instance, the “Really French Salad” calls for fine green beans, Dijon mustard, a wheel of goat cheese, walnut halves, and lamb’s lettuce — along with red wine vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. The result is a delicious meal that requires only one pan to cook the beans, toast the walnuts, and melt the cheese — yet it was as flavorful as any Parisian bistro’s offering.
Other recipes do the same for pasta, stuffed squash, fish, and meat dishes. But the best part of this book is the simple desserts: easy-to-make panna cotta, tarts, and sherbert are the stuff of dreams for someone too lazy to bake the tube of raw cookie dough.
Once again, Jamie Oliver has produced a book meant for real people who work and have families and obligations — yet still want to make a delicious meal. A recommended read, indeed.