We’ve seen this before: ultra-honored, Michelin-starred, haute-cuisine master chef decides to chill out and author a book of recipes for casual meals at home. We won’t fall for that again, not after other such projects gave us tennis elbow from endless hours on a mandolin working obscure Malay vegetables into a towering creation fit only for Versailles. But wait, athletic-looking Aussie Curtis Stone seems different. And his recipes only have on average six or eight ingredients not twenty-five. Maybe we can do this. In his introduction he writes, “You don’t have to be a great cook to put good food on the table—all you really need to do is to get your hands on quality ingredients and treat them simply. Remember that rule, and, honestly, you can’t go wrong.”
Stone offers creative ideas for virtually all situations from breakfast to casual sofa food to crowd-pleasing showier dishes. The flavor combinations are what will turn your head. “Crab and Mozzarella Salad with Mint and Lemon Dressing,” for example, all tossed together in ten minutes. Or “Pan-fried Pork Wrapped in Prosciutto with Sage and Capers” is a saltimbocca interpretation requiring one sauté pan and twenty minutes. Maybe some of these culinary gods do understand our frenetic lives.