Three-ingredient Dishes: Controversy vs Convenience

Nigella Lawson angered the internet this summer when she shared her two-ingredient recipe for tomatoes and salad cream (although the salad cream actually contained a whole slew of ingredients, which the armchair warriors would have spotted had they actually clicked through).

Despite the uproar, there is no shame in simplicity and letting the quality and flavour of your ingredients speak for themselves. There are plenty of two-or-three-ingredient prandial pleasures to be had, and our chefs share some of their favourites.

Bao La, Le Garçon Saigon

A breakfast banh mi can be thrown together in minutes and has life-giving qualities. All you need is a lightly toasted baguette, a fried egg and a couple of dashes of Maggi sauce.

Palash Mitra, New Punjab Club

A gin and tonic is a great example of how two ingredients can work wonders together. I like to pair mine with a simple snack of crunchy peanuts, created by roasting a handful of raw nuts at 170 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes then adding a finely chopped shallot, rock salt and a squeeze of lime. Any leftover limes can be added to your G&T.

Daniel Calvert, BELON

My favourite dessert at BELON is currently a tart consisting of just three elements. Golden mirabelle plums are baked into beautiful, piping hot puff pastry and served with ice cold cream on the side to make the dish sing. These plums are so perfectly ripe at the moment that they need no sweetening.

James Harrison, Maison Libanaise 

Who doesn’t love a good toastie? This can be as simple as bread, butter and cheese, but my preferred version is a bit more luxurious and uses brioche with salty jamon, rich raclette and fresh basil.

Christopher Mark, Black Sheep Restaurants co-founder

Another fan of the grilled cheese is Black Sheep Restaurants co-founder Christopher Mark, who shares his three-ingredient grilled cheese sandwich (a firm favourite of his Rottweiler, Chloe).

Heat a cast-iron pan to medium/low heat, then butter one slice of Roman wholegrain bread (using the best quality butter) before placing buttered-side-down in the pan. Top with thick slices of good sharp cheddar and another piece of bread, buttered-side-up. Once the bottom turns golden brown, flip and repeat on the other side. Continue to flip your sandwich, adding butter to the pan as needed to keep the bread shiny, until it turns a caramelised, almost burnt colour and the cheese begins to ooze out.

Pair with a glass of milk and a dollop of Heinz ketchup.

Billy Otis, Carbone

My Grandma’s five-minute marinara uses few ingredients which are mostly cupboard staples, and making the sauce couldn’t be easier. It can be served atop any pasta and is best made in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. Select the ripest, sweetest tomatoes you can find and roughly chop them. Slice a little garlic and sauté in olive oil, then add the tomatoes with some hand-torn basil and season with salt and sugar to taste.

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