We love Nigel and we especially love his new book, Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food. It’s a bit of a game changer, this book: as neat and concise as Slater’s recent tomes (the brilliant volumes of Tender, in particular) have been lavish and microscopically detailed. Eat is simply a book of recipes: each one short, straightforward and delicious, each accompanied by a photograph. Most also come with an extra Slater thought or two, written in bullet points: how to bone a chicken leg, for example, or suggestions for alternative ingredients. Slater assumes nothing with this book – except his reader’s desire to eat great food made with premium produce. No garden, no veg patch, no pastry skills, little time? This book will work for you. It works for everyone. You know that mid-week feeling, when you've got to get yet another supper on the table after work? This book solves that. Truly! I got my hands on it last week, am on my fourth recipe, and have yet to chop an onion. How blissful is that? And yet nothing has tasted hurried, and not an ingredient has been compromised.
So get this book. It's small, fits on your work space, has a cloth cover, looks great, and it works. The recipes I've tried so far – Mackerel with Bulgur and Tomatoes; Soba Noodles, Salmon and Prawns; Salt and Pepper Pork; Squid Stuffed with Judion Beans and Tomato – all got massive thumbs up round the dinner table, but so that you don't have to take my word for it, we've wrangled permission to reproduce a particularly brill recipe, below. Oh, and we've also got three signed – yes, signed – copies of Eat to give away. To win one, fill in the form below by 5pm on Thursday 17th October, when we'll pick three lucky names out of a hat.
Mackerel with Bulgur and Tomato
mackerel, bulgur, tomatoes, vegetable stock, red wine vinegar.
Heat 400ml vegetable stock in a saucepan, then pour it over 150g bulgur wheat and set aside for 15 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the grain.
Halve 8 medium-sized tomatoes and cook them under an overhead grill till soft and the skins have started to blacken. Remove the skins, pour in a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and season with black pepper. Crush the tomatoes with a fork to give a thick, roughly textured sauce and keep warm.
Brush 4 mackerel fillets with a little oil, season with salt and pepper, then cook under an overhead grill for a few minutes, skin side down, till the fish is opaque and a flake will pull away from the skin. I like to turn the fillets skin-side up for a minute or so, to crisp them lightly. Divide the bulgur between 2 plates, add the mackerel fillets, then spoon over the grilled tomato sauce.
For 2. Homely grain. The sweet sharp joy of tomatoes.