This is one of my recipe all-stars, as it is breathtakingly easy, takes 15-20 minutes to prepare from grocery bag to table, and always produces a ripple of awe and gratitude, as people think that you’ve either slaved for hours, or are a Mario Batali-esque kitchen whiz (or, God-willing, both).
To illustrate, I once pulled this recipe out for an impromptu Girls’ Night In. I received the phone call at 6, my friends would arrive at 7:30, and I had nothing to serve. 45 minutes later I had returned from my neighborhood Whole Foods with mussels, onion, parsley, crusty bread, and white wine. I cleaned the apartment (or shoved the detritus underneath the couch), cleared off the kitchen table, and started prepping around 7:15. The ladies arrived, coats were hung, bums in seats, and dinner was served by 7:35.