The concept of "quick cooking" may bring a dismal premonition of some rushed procedure, a fast, flavorless concoction flung together with no thought. But it doesn't have to be so. Take a deep breath, grab a smart recipe, and count on a happier outcome.
For example: this sauteed skirt steak with braised scallions, brightened with the tang of lime juice, can be ready for the table in about 30 minutes, without skimping one bit on taste. The recipe by Shelley Wiseman is from Gourmet magazine's October issue, in the Gourmet Every Day feature.
A suggested side dish is steamed broccoli with olive oil and Parmesan, which will take 10 minutes to prepare.
SAUTEED SKIRT STEAK WITH BRAISED SCALLIONS
Active time 25 minutes, start to finish 30 minutes
1 1/2 pound skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup water
1 pound scallions (3 or 4 bunches), trimmed to 7 inches long
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
Garnish: Lime wedges
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200 F.
Pat steaks dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook steaks, turning over once, 5 to 7 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a plate and keep warm in oven.
Discard fat from skillet, then add water and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add scallions and remaining tablespoon butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, tightly covered, over moderate heat until scallions are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer scallions with tongs to a platter and put steaks on top.
Pour any steak juices accumulated on plate into juices in skillet and boil until slightly thickened. Add lime juice and pour sauce over steaks and scallions. Makes 4 servings.
STEAMED BROCCOLI WITH OLIVE OIL AND PARMESAN
Active time 10 minutes, start to finish 10 minutes
1 1/2 pounds broccoli (1 large bunch), tough stems discarded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3/4 cup)
Cut broccoli into 1 1/2- to 2-inch-wide florets. Peel stems and cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide sticks.
Steam broccoli in a steamer rack set over boiling water, covered, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with oil, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.