Any book Mark Bittman produces turns into a best-seller, and How to Cook Everything Fast is no exception; it has already made several best-of lists, and is a hot item for Christmas shoppers.
I love cookbooks, and have hundreds of them… and rarely does one stand out as truly unique. Not only does How to Cook Everything Fast stand out literally, due to its massive size, but it tackles day to day meal prep in a whole new way, including real time prep tips along with the cooking instructions in the way that streamlines the process.
The book also offers real, usable tips to help get dinner on the table fast – and still from scratch. Like cutting veggies with scissors right in the pan, or grating them so that they cook more quickly when making pureed soups. He advises using convenience foods sometimes – like frozen veggies and egg roll wrappers in place of lasagna noodles, which cook through quickly yet don’t require boiling.
Readers’ Digest did a great video with Mark Bittman this summer, making his super streamlined chicken parmigiana. A classic!
BITTMAN’S FASTEST CHICKEN PARM
Speedy: 30 minutes. Serves: 4.
Excerpted from How to Cook Everything Fast, by Mark Bittman
5 tbs. olive oil
3 medium ripe tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
salt and pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
2 oz. Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 bunch fresh basil
PREP | COOK
1. Turn broiler to high; put rack 6 inches from heat. Pour 2 tbs. olive oil onto rimmed baking sheet and spread it around; put baking sheet in broiler.
• Core and slice tomatoes.
• Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets from each breast. Press down on each with heel of hand to flatten.
2. Carefully remove baking sheet from broiler. Put chicken cutlets on sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes; broil on one side only until chicken is no longer pink in center, rotating pan if necessary for even cooking, 5 to 10 minutes.
• Grate mozzarella and Parmesan.
• Combine bread crumbs, mozzarella, and Parmesan in small bowl.
• Strip 16 to 20 basil leaves from stems.
3. When chicken is cooked through, remove baking sheet from broiler. Lay basil leaves on top of tomatoes, sprinkle with bread crumb-and-cheese mixture, and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
4. Return sheet to broiler; cook until bread crumbs and cheese are browned and bubbly, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
EVEN FASTER: Use about 2 cups tomato sauce instead of sliced tomatoes.