Nigel Slater's fast suppers (2024)

Tis the season of roasted, toasted flavours. While I am happy to take my time over making one meal each day, I welcome ideas for something quicker and simpler but still with those deep, sweet-roasted flavours for the umpteen other meals in the week where time is not on my side.

Scallops on toasted ciabatta

Much as I love the simplicity of grilled scallops, they tend to be insubstantial as a main dish. By serving them on rounds of thick, olive-oil-drenched toast, they become satisfying enough for a light lunch on a cold day, while still falling under the title of fast food.

Serves 2 as a light snack

scallops - 6

garlic - a large clove

olive oil - 2 tbs

a lime

a small hot chilli, seeded and finely chopped

coriander leaves - a small handful

ciabatta - 2 slices and a little more olive oil

Heat a grill or heavy-based shallow pan. Peel and crush the garlic with a pinch of salt. Stir in the olive oil, the juice of the lime and chilli. Add the coriander leaves and a grinding of black pepper.

Toast the bread lightly on both sides then drizzle it with olive oil. Put the scallops on the hot grill or pan and leave for a minute or so on either side, pressing down firmly with tongs or a palette knife so the scallops get a light crust. As soon as they are pale gold, lift the scallops into the dressing, toss gently and tip the whole lot onto the hot toast.

Roast winter vegetables

Roast root vegetables have a deep, earthy sweetness that seems to particularly appeal on winter days. More than just a side dish for a roast lunch, beetroot, squash and parsnip work well as a warm salad dressed with a ballsy blend of oil, red wine vinegar and mustard.

per person:

beetroot - 1 medium-sized

carrots - 2 medium-sized

parsnip - 1 medium-sized

half a small squash

garlic - 2 whole cloves

olive oil


for the dressing:

red wine vinegar - 50ml

salt - half a tsp

cayenne pepper - a pinch

grain mustard - a tbs

olive oil - 100ml

Set the oven at 190C/gas 5. Cut any leaves and stalks from the beetroot, but don't cut into the skin. Scrub the carrots, and peel and quarter the parsnip. Cut the squash in half or quarters and discard the seeds and fibres. Put the beetroot, carrots, parsnip and squash into a roasting tin or large baking dish. Tuck the garlic and sprigs of thyme among the vegetables.

Drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and toss the vegetables in it. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast for about 45-60 minutes until the vegetables are thoroughly tender.

Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together with a pinch of black pepper and the roasted flesh of the garlic. I sometimes do this by simply shaking the ingredients together in a jar with a tight lid. Toss the hot roast vegetables in the dressing and serve.

Mushrooms stuffed with olive and mint

Large beefy mushrooms, their centres deep enough to contain a cargo of aromatic stuffing make a very worthwhile and satisfying supper. You could ring the changes with the filling by using sun-dried tomatoes, raisins, a little grated cheese and of course, play around with any herbs that might seem appropriate, but I like the unapologetic simplicity of a stuffing made from larder staples such as olives, lemon and garlic.

Serves 2 as a light main course

onions - 2 medium-sized

garlic - 2 cloves

olive oil - 2 tbs

fresh breadcrumbs - 6 heaped tbs

stoned green olives - 100g

a large handful of mint leaves

a little lemon juice

large, flat field mushrooms - 6

Set the oven at 200C/gas 6. Peel the onions and garlic and chop them roughly. Warm the oil in a shallow pan and soften the onions and garlic in it over a moderate heat. When they are truly soft, tip in the breadcrumbs, the olives and the mint leaves, lightly chopped. Season with salt, black pepper and lemon juice.

Put the mushrooms in a large baking dish or roasting tin, slicing off the stalks as you go. Pile the stuffing into the mushrooms then bake for about 25 minutes till golden and sizzling.

Baked shallots with goats' cheese

Banana shallots are a huge favourite in this house, both for their mild oniony flavour and for their sleek, torpedo-like appearance. You can bake them without much ado, when their flesh becomes soft and honeyed and their sweetness develops in the heat. We tend to eat them as a Saturday lunch or Sunday supper, with a piece of unpasteurised Single Gloucester or Caerphilly. Goats' cheese is a fine contender here, too.

per person:

Banana shallots - 4

olive oil

thyme sprigs

fudgy goats' cheese - 4

Put the oven on at 190C/gas 5. Bake the shallots, in their skins with a light drizzle of oil and a few of the sprigs of thyme, for about 30 minutes, till soft to the touch. Test one - it should be meltingly soft inside.

Put the shallots on plates with the slices of goats' cheese. Cut into each shallot, pour in a drop or two of olive oil and scatter over a few of the thyme leaves. Eat while hot, spreading the soft onions on to the cheese as you go. Some crusty bread would be appropriate, though far from essential.

Baked pumpkin with bacon

Nothing makes a baked squash sing like a drizzle of oil or melted butter, but recently I have taken to adding a scattering of hot bacon, its fat golden and starting to crisp, over the golden squash.

Serves 4 as a light supper

a medium-sized squash or pumpkin

olive oil or butter

streaky bacon - 12 rashers

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Cut the pumpkin into thick slices (as you might a melon), then scrape out and discard the seeds and fibres from the centre. Put the pumpkin slices on a roasting tin or baking dish and rub the cut sides lightly with olive oil or butter. A little pool in the middle of each slice will help, too. Bake until the pumpkin is sweet and very soft, which may take anything up to an hour. If the edges are caught in the heat of the oven then all to the good.

Put a little oil or butter in a shallow pan, roughly chop the bacon rashers into pieces about the size of a postage stamp and let it cook in the pan till the fat is golden and the bacon is starting to crisp. Pour the bacon and its hot fat over the slices of baked pumpkin and eat straight away.

Nigel Slater's fast suppers (2024)


Where did Nigel Slater learn to cook? ›

Slater gained an OND in catering at Worcester Technical College in 1976, and worked in restaurants and hotels across the UK before becoming a food writer for Marie Claire magazine in 1988.

How do you make Nigel Slater potatoes? ›

Rinse one large potato per person, prick lightly all over with a fork then roll it in sea salt. Place in a preheated oven set at 220C/gas mark 8. Bake for about an hour, according to size. They are done when the skin is crisp, but they give a little as you squeeze.

How did Nigel Slater lose weight? ›

Around my middle was a thick layer of fat.” The technique to get rid of it was keeping a food diary, he revealed in a feature for the Guardian. “For the entire 12 months I kept a record of everything I put in my mouth,” he revealed. Despite losing fat, Nigel was not intending to lose weight through his regime.

Is Nigel Slater a qualified chef? ›

He is also a gardener “of sorts” and a collector of ceramics and contemporary art. He is active on both Instagram and Twitter. Author, diarist, programme maker and cook, he remains very much an amateur in the kitchen. Nigel is not and never has been a professional chef.

How do you roast root vegetables Nigel Slater? ›

Scrub the carrots, peel the parsnips and slice them from stalk to tip. Scrub and halve the artichokes. Put the carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes in a roasting tin. Trim the beetroots, leaving a small tuft on top (so they do not “bleed”), add them to the tin and pour over the olive oil.

Where did Nat learn to cook? ›

Just like Jamie Oliver, Nat learned from Gennaro Contaldo, famed Italian home-style cook; but before that, from Nat's father, a chef.

Who taught Gordon Ramsay how do you cook? ›

After earning a vocational diploma in hotel management from North Oxon Technical College in 1987, he moved to London and began honing his culinary skills under chef Marco Pierre White at the restaurant Harvey's and under chef Albert Roux at La Gavroche.

Has Nigel Slater got a restaurant? ›

Nigel is not a chef and has no restaurant or commercial connections. His food is understated, handcrafted home cooking that is easy to accomplish and without a trace of what he affectionately calls 'celebrity cheffery'. He is not fond of fussy food and prefers simple suppers made with care and thought.

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