A fellow vegetable-lover recently popped a copy of Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi under my nose. Ottolenghi really is all about his vegetables!
Founded in his Israeli heritage, Ottolenghi’s cooking takes inspiration from family, friends and travels.
The book is lovely – mostly because the recipes are very thoughtful about how the different vegetables that make up the dish should be prepared. They are a unique take on how vegetables can be combined together to make interesting flavours and textures.
So far I have tried the Surprise Tatin …
My surprise Tatin came with extra surprise – I had some dirty big potatoes and roma tomatoes from the last co-op shop that I decided to use up. I sliced the tomatoes into segments and then halved each wedge to make the size roughly equivalent to half a cherry tomato and it worked fine. Admittedly my more rustic take was not as pretty as Ottolenghi’s but it still tasted yummy!
And then my life changed after making the pasta and fried zucchini salad…
Ok it looks pretty humble but it is freakin’ delicious.
Due to supply constraints I used frozen broad beans instead of frozen edamame (but fresh broad beans would be the best Australian option) and bocconcini instead of buffalo mozzarella. Still trying to come up with a new describing word equivalent to amazing to give proper recognition to how yummy this pasta was. It was a bloody good way to use up three zucchinis !
Big ups to Ottolenghi for keeping the inspirational fires burning but there are a few challenges… There are things in ounces, the degrees are in farenheit and some of the instructions are vague (eg cooking time only but no description on how big or how cooked vegetable should be – this can be hard given one type of vegetable can come in different shapes and sizes). I found this a bit frustrating at first but realised in the end that precision was not all that important for these recipes – if you err on the side of underdone for your vegetables it is pretty hard to go wrong!
Now to plan what to make out of the book with my next round of vegetables … something with eggplant I think!