Denton a La Plancha - Bream with Garlic and ParsleyI’m terrible.  I claim to love to cook, and yet I get busy and make excuses and reach for the telephone instead of the spatula.  I know, I know, in the amount of time it takes for a pizza to be delivered, I could have a great dinner on the table.  While I was in Spain and working extra hard, I had the urge to pick up the phone.  My friends looked at me like I was nuts.  “But why would we order out?  We have tons of good food in the refrigerator!”  That was when I realized that one of my all-time favorite Spanish dishes could easily be tagged “fast food.”  So without further ado, here’s a recipe I highly recommend — especially for those times when you don’t think you have time to cook.  You can thank me later.

Here’s the really sweet part — you can use this preparation for virtually any kind of main dish — any type of meat, fish, or vegetables.

[Insert Meat, Fish, Veggies Here]  A La Plancha – Con Ajos y Perejil

[Whatever…] On the Griddle with Garlic and Parsley

Thinly sliced pork, lamb, beef, chicken, or filets of fish, or whole cleaned shrimp or sliced vegetables (for vegetables that are long and skinny, slice thinly the long way, for ease of cooking).

Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Spanish of course)

Garlic – lots of thin sliced garlic (quantity depends on how much meat / veg you are cooking — but be very generous)

Sea salt

Italian flat-leaf parsley

Tools:  Tongs, electric or other griddle, or if you don’t have one, just use a big skillet

Prep:  Slice veg or meat or fish as needed.  Coarsely chop parsley.  Slice garlic.

Warm the griddle and drizzle with good olive oil (you can use other oil, but the flavors won’t be as good).  Lay the ingredients on the griddle and monitor the heat – you want it to cook medium-fast, to get a nice sear on the food, cook the veg all the way through, but not dry it out.

Drizzle the top of the ingredients with more olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  When the food is about 1/2 done, sprinkle generously with the garlic slices, turn the food over, and sprinkle with more garlic.  Drizzle more oil as needed. Don’t let it dry out!  Continue cooking until the food is done and the garlic is golden brown.  About 5 minutes before everything is done, add the chopped parsley.

Remove all to a platter — including the garlic.  If possible, lift the griddle and pour the juices over the food.  Serve with a little toasted crusty bread to soak up the juices.

Note:  This can be a super fast meal if you have pre-sliced meat and salad ingredients on hand.  Cook the meat (it takes about 15 minutes total in prep and cook time) and while the meat is cooking, throw together a simple salad.  Voila!  Fast food at its best!

Wine recommendation — Well, it depends on what you’re cooking, no, right?  For pork, I recommend a young Tempranillo or Garnacha.  For vegetables and fish, try one of my favorite whites – Verdejo.

Let me know if you try it.  Wait, let me know WHEN you try it.  And please share your own fast food tips.  I’m in need of more quick recipes.