By Request, My Favorite 3-Ingredient Recipes

Since we launched this newsletter back in October, a LOT of you have reached out with questions, comments, sacred family recipes, odes to your hometowns and your turducken, and plenty of suggestions for things you’d like us to write about.

Some of you want foolproof dinners for your culinarily-challenged spouses to cook (“Because I can’t. Do. Everything”); others want to make sourdough from scratch. Some want to make vegetarian food more appealing to carnivores; others want to dry-age steaks. Some of you want to get better at cooking for your families, while others want tips for cooking for one (“It’s difficult to halve an egg”).

There are countless more. It’s satisfying to hear from you and to know that, as a group, we have diverse and compelling interests regarding cooking and food. Please: Keep ‘em coming!

As a realist, and someone who’s easily distracted, I recognize that it’s impossible to tackle all the things you ask about. But what I will do is occasionally base a newsletter entirely or partly around a topic that many, or some, or one of you wants to see, or learn, or cook. (How’s that for commitment?) And there’s no time like the present…

A bunch of you have asked for some of my favorite three-ingredient recipes, a fun place to start and a subject we’ll probably come back to. While I’m guessing that the spirit of these requests is less about a hard cap on ingredients than about wanting simple, delicious dishes that don’t require all sorts of random things that you might not have on hand, I’m taking the challenge seriously.

So, excluding salt, pepper, and oil, the recipes below have three ingredients: seriously. They span a range of categories (soup, pasta, fish, meat, veggies, and dessert), and are genuinely satisfying to cook and eat, regardless of how many things go into them.

Of course, if you garnish your garlicky white bean soup with parsley and Parm, or serve your butter-roasted salmon with rice and greens (illicit ingredients numbers four and five in both cases), more power to you, and the dishes will remain uncomplicated. Let me know how it goes, send me any three-ingredient favorites of your own, and enjoy the weekend.

— Mark

Romulo Yanes

Use dried beans, don’t skimp on the garlic (when I say “1 bulb” I mean it), and you won’t be disappointed.


Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

This is both one of the simplest and best pasta recipes I can think of. Rather than cooking a sauce, you just (vigorously) stir everything together in a big bowl. Good all the time (even for breakfast), but especially at midnight.


Romulo Yanes

This is one of those salmon dishes that changes dramatically when you use really fresh fish, since there are really only two ingredients. It’s dead simple, and you can serve it either hot, warm, or at room temperature (which makes it great for entertaining). You can also use trout or scallops (adjust the cooking time depending on their size).


Romulo Yanes

This is prime rib (basically the Rolls Royce of roast beef), one of the crown jewels of the holiday season. For a less expensive take, get a 4- to 5-pound boneless rump roast and start checking on it about 40 minutes after you put it into the oven. This makes dynamite leftovers.


At this point we’re kind of used to giving kale the quick-cooking treatment, but more often than not collards are treated (or subjected, depending on your point of view) to a long simmer until they’re super soft. Flash-cooking them is a wonderful change of pace (my daughter, Kate, says, “you wouldn’t believe how good this is”). Regardless of what green you choose, make sure the stems are 1/8-inch thick or less; strip away and discard thicker stems.


The easiest mousse you can make (and a nice excuse to eat copious amounts of whipped cream). This is a perfect treatment for raspberries, which require no cooking at all to be tender, but a fool can also be made with any soft, ripe (or frozen) fruit (most you won’t even need to strain after puréeing).


Talk To Me, Goose!

Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.