I DON'T HAVE any patience when it comes to Thursday night cooking, which leads me to Gwyneth. She acts, she edits, she cooks! Her new book, It's All Easy, is the very best kind of pick-me-up, much like chicken soup for the uninspired. I love her mission statement "to not let a hectic schedule rob you of a nurturing mealtime"; even more the fact that her dishes have minimal prep time (yes!). Here, three new GP favourites to add to your repertoire
Beauty And The Feast: above, author, actress and GOOP founder Gwyneth Paltrow, and her seared scallops recipe for unexpected guests, from It's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes For The Super-Busy Home Cook. Photographs by Ditte Isager.
"We know scallops intimidate a lot of cooks, but they’re actually one of the easiest and quickest types of seafood to prepare. The most important things to remember are to get the skillet nice and hot, to make sure the scallops are dry so they sear rather than steam, and to not touch them until they’ve developed a nice crust on one side and are almost cooked through. Here we pair them with a warm spring salad and a quick brown butter pan sauce — make this for someone you’re trying to impress, or quarter the recipe and treat yourself to a restaurant-quality weeknight feast. You deserve it — you made perfectly cooked scallops!"
Toss the watercress-asparagus salad to combine well. Divide the salad among four plates (or arrange it on one platter), arrange the cooked scallops on top of the salad, and pour the brown butter over. Garnish with a little coarse sea salt and serve with lemon wedges on the side, if desired.
"This ubiquitous combo has been around for ages, popping up at spas, restaurants, and even the canned soup aisle at the supermarket. I’ve had a million iterations of this soup, but our version, naturally sweet from slowly sautéed onion and bright with lots of fresh ginger, is particularly good (and easy!). Don’t bother peeling the carrots for this recipe—just give them a good scrub to remove any dirt."
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2½ cups)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, cover the pot, and sauté over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the onion is very soft and sweet. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for 1 minute, then add the cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Sauté for another minute, then add the carrots, stock, and another big pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 20 min- utes, or until the carrots are very tender.
Carefully transfer the soup in batches to a high-speed blender, or blend the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
"These pan-fried noodles are gluten free, full of veggies, and kid-approved (my kids inhale this). The prep does take some time, but once you’re cooking, the dish comes together quickly, so be ready with all the ingredients. Add chicken, shrimp, or beef for a little extra protein, and if you don’t have a wok or a really big nonstick pan, use two smaller pans—these noodles don’t like to be crowded. Pan-frying noodles is not an exact science, so trust your instincts and add a couple more glugs of oil if things are looking dry or starting to stick."
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup chopped green beans (½-inch pieces)
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
7 ounces firm tofu, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon madras curry powder, or more to taste
1 large egg
¼ cup tamari
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, if desired
Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes or according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, heat a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon each of the peanut and sesame oils. When the oils are hot but not smoking, add the onion and cook, untouched, for 1 minute to sear. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes more. Transfer the onion to a bowl.
Add the broccoli, green beans, peas, tofu, and another tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan. Sauté over high heat until the veggies are just cooked through and the tofu is beginning to brown (about 2 minutes); transfer the veggies and tofu to the bowl with the onion. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the soaked and drained noodles, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and stir to combine. Make a hole in the middle of the noodles, add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and crack in the egg. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and let scramble until almost cooked through, then mix in with the noodles. Add the tamari, scallions, and cilantro and stir everything to combine.
Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary, and serve.
It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook by Gwyneth Paltrow, published by Hachette Australia.