Tired of eating the same old thing? Then how about trying one of these recipes from the Israeli-born, London-based superstar chef Yotam Ottolenghi‘s piping hot new book Plenty More?
CORSICAN PIE WITH COURGETTE FLOWERS (pictured above)
Cooking on location is a very lengthy process. It often takes an hour or two, sometimes much more, to get the cooking station ready, the lighting right, the camera angles and the sound. By the time we’re ready to shoot, everybody is hungry and tired, so our generous hosts often spoil us with snacks and drinks. Setting up for the Swiss chard scene when shooting my Mediterranean Island Feast programme took even longer than usual because we had to wait for the restaurant’s guests to finish their lunch and leave before we could even start getting ready. In the meantime, Monique, the chef and owner of the legendary Chez Seraphin, buttered us up with tremendous local charcuterie and lots and lots of red wine. By the time we were ready to start everybody was pretty beat and completely unfocused. The result was utter lethargy and the shoot being dragged almost until sunset, when, of course… it was time to eat again.
You can use a wide range of wild, cultivated or supermarket greens in this recipe. Consider nettles, beetroot tops, turnip tops, spinach or watercress in place of the chard. The combination is up to you so choose the ones you like most. The courgette flowers look wonderful but you can leave them out or substitute them with some long shaved strips of courgette, if you prefer. Brocciu, produced on the island of Corsica and considered a national food, is a fresh young white cheese made with goat’s or ewe’s milk. I couldn’t omit it from the ingredients – Monique would never forgive me! – but the easier-to-find Italian ricotta can be used just as well instead. (Pictured on previous page.)
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 as a main course)
½ small red onion, thinly sliced (85g)
3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced (220g)
8 large Swiss chard leaves, white stalks discarded, roughly chopped (175g)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp torn mint leaves
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped sage
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
75g feta, crumbled
50g pecorino, finely grated
15g pine nuts, lightly toasted
grated zest of 1 lemon
350g all-butter puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
100g brocciu cheese or ricotta
4–6 courgette flowers, cut in half lengthways if large, or 6 long, shaved strips of raw courgette
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and black pepper
Place a large sauté pan on medium–high heat and sauté the onion, celery, chard, garlic, mint, parsley and sage in the olive oil. Cook, stirring continuously, for 15 minutes or until the greens have wilted and the celery has softened completely. Remove from the heat and stir through the feta, pecorino, pine nuts, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a hearty grind of black pepper. Leave aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC Fan/Gas Mark 7.
Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface until 3mm thick, then cut it into a circle, approximately 30cm in diameter. Place on an oven tray lined with baking parchment. Spread the filling out on the pastry leaving a 3cm border all the way around. Dot the filling with large chunks of brocciu or ricotta and top with courgette flowers or courgette strips, if using. Bring the pastry up around the sides of the filling and pinch the edges together firmly to form a secure, decorative lip over the edge of the tart. Alternatively, press with the end of a fork. Brush the pastry with egg and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Bake the tart for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and cooked on the base. Remove from the oven and brush with a little olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
TOMATO AND POMEGRANATE SALAD
I rarely rave about my own recipes but this is one I can just go on and on about. The definition of freshness with its sweet and sour late-summer flavours, it is also an utter delight to look at. But the most incredible thing about it is that it uses a few ingredients that I have been lovingly cooking with for many years, and believed I knew everything there was to know about, yet had never thought of mixing them in such a way. That is, until I travelled to Istanbul and came across a similar combination of fresh tomatoes and pomegranate seeds in a famous local kebab restaurant called Hamdi, right by the Spice Bazaar. It was a proper light-bulb moment when I realised how the two types of sweetness – the sharp, almost bitter sweetness of pomegranate and the savoury, sunny sweetness of tomato – can complement each other so gloriously.
I use four types of tomato here to make the salad more interesting visually and in flavour. You can easily use fewer, just as long as they are ripe and sweet.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
200g red cherry tomatoes, cut into 0.5cm dice
200g yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into 0.5cm dice
200g tiger (or plum) tomatoes, cut into 0.5cm dice
500g medium vine tomatoes, cut into 0.5cm dice
1 red pepper, cut into 0.5cm dice (120g)
1 small red onion, finely diced (120g)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
60ml olive oil, plus a little extra to finish
seeds of 1 large pomegranate (170g)
1 tbsp small oregano leaves
Mix together the tomatoes, red pepper and onion in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and 1/3 teaspoon of salt, until well combined. Pour this over the tomatoes and gently mix.
Arrange the tomatoes and their juices on a large flat plate. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and oregano. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
AUBERGINE WITH BLACK GARLIC
Slices of roast aubergine have been through many incarnations and have been a constant feature on the Ottolenghi menu since we first set up shop in 2002. Every now and then a new kid on the block will appear to shake up the old-timers and our latest bright young thing is this black garlic sauce. I’d love black garlic to be more widely available: its taste is reminiscent of molasses and tamarind and it gives an unexpected depth of flavour to dishes. You can simply slice a few thin slivers and add these to crunchy salads or creamy risottos – it’s mellow enough not to dominate – or use it in sauces, dips and purées, as here, to enliven (and challenge) old favourites.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
3 medium aubergines, sliced widthways into 1.5cm rounds (900g)
200ml olive oil
8 large or 16 small black garlic cloves (35g)
200g Greek yoghurt
1½ tsp lemon juice
7 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (30g)
3 red chillies, sliced on the diagonal into 3mm rounds
5g dill leaves
5g basil leaves
5g tarragon leaves
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 250ºC/230ºC Fan/Gas Mark 9 (or to its highest setting).
Place the aubergine rounds in a large bowl with 60ml of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well and spread out on 2 large baking trays lined with greaseproof paper. Roast in the oven until golden-brown and completely soft – about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Place the black garlic cloves in the small bowl of a food processor with 1/3 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of yoghurt and the lemon juice. Blitz for a minute, to form a rough paste, and then transfer to a medium bowl. Mix through the rest of the yoghurt and keep in the fridge until needed.
Heat the remaining 110ml of oil in a small saucepan on a high heat. Add the garlic and chilli slices, reduce the heat to medium and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the garlic is golden-brown and the chilli is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic and chilli on to a kitchen paper-lined plate.
Arrange the aubergine slices, overlapping, on a platter. Spoon the yoghurt sauce on top, sprinkle over the chilli and garlic and finish with the herbs.
IMAGES and RECIPES from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, Hardcover, £27)