Shortcut Cooking From Jamie Oliver

Clever cookbooks with a limited number of ingredients per recipe are not new, but this one from the chef Jamie Oliver is notable for its ease and verve. Before he gets to the cooking he names his five “pantry heroes”: red wine vinegar, sea salt, black pepper and two olive oils, everyday and finer for finishing, staples that are not part of the ingredient tally. The book starts with salads, mostly as the center of the plate, and then goes on to simple pastas like one with canned tuna, capers and tiny tomatoes. There are sections on eggs, chicken, fish, various meats (beef dishes are mostly steaks) and desserts. To keep the ingredient count to five, Mr. Oliver bakes with self-rising flour and premade puff pastry and relies on prepared Asian condiments and sauces. With coconut milk and curry paste, you’re on your way to soup. Along with plenty of inspiring shortcuts, there’s a straightforward recipe for potato gnocchi with asparagus, and a six-hour lamb shoulder baked with chickpeas from scratch, not quick at all.

“5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food” by Jamie Oliver (Flatiron Books, $35).

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Florence Fabricant is a food and wine writer. She writes the weekly Front Burner and Off the Menu columns, as well as the Pairings column, which appears alongside the monthly wine reviews. She has also written 12 cookbooks.

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