Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, EPUB, 1607749165

  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication Date: October 16, 2018
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: 1607749165
  • ISBN-13: 9781607749165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607749165
  • File Format: EPUB

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Copyright © 2018 by Yotam Ottolenghi

Photographs copyright © 2018 by Jonathan Lovekin

All rights reserved.Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

www.crownpublishing.com

www.tenspeed.com

Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Originally published in Great Britain by Ebury Press, an imprint of Ebury Publishing, Penguin Random House Ltd., London.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

Names: Ottolenghi, Yotam, author. | Wigley, Tara, author. | Howarth, Esme, author.

Title: Ottolenghi Simple / by Yotam Ottolenghi, with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth.

Description: California : Ten Speed Press, [2018] | Includes bibliographical references and index. |

Identifiers: LCCN 2018020229 (print) | LCCN 2018022680 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Quick and easy cooking. | Make-ahead cooking. | LCGFT: Cookbooks.

Classification: LCC TX833.5 (ebook) | LCC TX833.5 .O88 2018 (print) | DDC641.5/12—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018020229

ISBN 9781607749165

Ebook ISBN 9781607749172

v5.3.2

prh

 

 

Contents

Introduction: Ottolenghi Simple

 

Brunch

Raw Veg

Cooked Veg

Rice, Grains, and Pulses

Noodles and Pasta

Meat

Seafood

Dessert

 

SIMPLE Meal Suggestions

Feasts

“Ottolenghi” Ingredients

Index

Acknowledgments

 

 

There are all sorts of ways to get a meal on the table, depending on the sort of cook you are. One person’s idea of cooking simply is the next person’s culinary nightmare. For me, for example, it’s about being able to stop at my grocery store on the way home, pick up a couple of things that look good and make something within 20 or 30 minutes of getting home. My husband, Karl, on the other hand, has a completely different idea of what “simple cooking” is. If we’re having friends over on the weekend, he’ll want to spend a good amount of time beforehand, prepping and cooking as much as he can so that very little needs to be done when our guests are around.

There are other ways, too. Esme, who led the recipe testing for this book, prefers to be in the garden on the weekend rather than kitchen-bound. Her idea of simple cooking is to put something in the oven on a Saturday morning and leave it simmering away, ready to be eaten four or five hours later. Tara, on the other hand, who led the writing, can’t really relax without knowing that a meal is basically ready a full day before it’s due to be eaten. Sauces are in the fridge, stews are in the freezer, veggies are blanched or roasted and ready.

Whatever our approach, it all looks effortless and easy when friends and family come to eat in our respective kitchens. This is only because we’ve worked out the way that suits us to make cooking simple, relaxing and therefore fun. It’s different for everyone. This idea, then—that there’s more than one way to get a meal on the table and that everyone has a different idea of which way is simple—is what Ottolenghi SIMPLE is all about.

And, no, for anyone wondering, Ottolenghi SIMPLE is not a contradiction in terms! I know, I know: I’ve seen the raised eyebrows, I’ve heard the jokes. The one about the reader who thought there was part of a recipe missing as they already had all the ingredients they needed in their cupboard. Or the one that goes, “Just popping out to the local shop to buy the papers, milk, black garlic, and sumac!”

I hold up my hands, absolutely. There have been lists to make and ingredients to find but, truthfully, there’s not a recipe to my name that I feel sheepish about. Cooking, for me, has always been about abundance, bounty, freshness, and surprise. Four big words to expect from a plate of food, so a single sprig of parsley was never, really, going to cut the mustard. The reason I’m so excited about Ottolenghi SIMPLE is that it’s full of recipes that are still distinctly “Ottolenghi” but are simple in at least one (but very often in more than one) way.

To build on the different definitions of simplicity for different people, Tara devised a clear and practical color-coded system. The beauty of Tara’s system is that it allows you, once you’ve figured out what kind of “simple cook” you are and for what kind of “simple occasion” you are cooking, to select the recipes that are right for you. Those bright colors are really there to help you plan meals and then make them, with minimum hassle and maximum joy.

 

 

short on time

With your ingredients in the house, your knife sharp, the oven on and the decks clear, these recipes will take less than 30 minutes to get on the table. Noodles and pasta dishes come into their own, with their short cooking time, as does fish, which is so often quick to cook. Meat can be speedy as well, though, with things like lamb patties and chicken schnitzel needing very little time in the pan. Raw vegetable recipes will nearly always be quick to make, as are half the brunch dishes, which is what you want when cooking in the morning.

The short-on-time recipes are the ones I eat for supper during the week and the recipes I feed friends for brunch on the weekend. They’re the dishes that can be made so quickly and easily that, sometimes, I end up making five or six at once so that my plans for a simple meal turn, inadvertently, into a big feast.

 

 

10 ingredients or less

I thought that imposing a limit of 10 ingredients or less on my recipes was going to be a big challenge, but it was actually the biggest thrill. The temptation to add layer upon layer of flavor and texture is one I often happily fall for, but knowing that I couldn’t do that here was a form of liberation.

The most thrilling thing of all, though, was the achievement of this for so many recipes without ever thinking that a recipe was in any way lacking. I can’t see myself becoming a herb apologist in the future (green things make me happy!) and there’s never a dish I regret squeezing lemon over—but, absolutely, less can be more and abundance can still be achieved with fewer ingredients.

So what have I left out that might have otherwise been there? One or two different herbs are used instead of three or four, for example. One type of oil or salt or variety of chile was shown to be enough. Some ready-made spice mixes—such as curry powder or Chinese 5-spice powder—were a great alternative to grinding and combining a host of individual spices. A dish was bold enough not to need the teaspoon of sugar, clove of garlic, or half teaspoon of dried mint or tomato paste I might have otherwise added. Rather than using vinegar and lemon, I’d use just one and increase the amount.

With the exception of harissa, though—one of my absolute pantry must-haves—and one recipe that has a tablespoon of sriracha in its dressing (see the prawn recipe on this page), I decided not to rely on ready-made chile pastes, such as Thai green or red curry pastes. There are some really good pastes available but, as freshness is so important to me, I’d rather make a simple quick curry paste of my own, using a few key ingredients, than use an ingredient-packed ready-made version.

Ingredients I haven’t included in the number count are: salt, pepper, water, olive oil and—in a handful of recipes—garlic and onion.

 

 

make ahead

Ottolenghi food is all about freshness. Herbs and leaves don’t like to sit around after they’ve been chopped or dressed. A lot of baked things like to be eaten soon after they come out of the oven. There are all sorts of ways, though, to get ahead with the meal you’re making without compromising on how fresh it is.

Many things, such as spreads and sauces, dips, and dressings, for example, are happy to be made a day or two ahead and kept in the fridge, ready to be warmed through or brought back to room temperature before serving. The freezer is also your friend. It’s often as easy to double the amount of a pasta sauce or stew that a recipe calls for, for example, as it is to make the amount you need for one meal. That way you can just freeze half, have your next meal ready and waiting, and feel disproportionately pleased with yourself in the process.

It’s not just about getting food into the fridge or freezer the day or week before, though. Making ahead also includes all the ways you can get ahead by a few hours on the day you’re prepping for a meal, so that a dish is ready to be assembled when it’s time to eat. Nuts can be toasted, batter mixed, stuffing prepped, grains cooked and refreshed, vegetables blanched and dried, or even (in the case of wedges of eggplant or squash) roasted in the oven and brought to room temperature. These are all things that can be done hours (or even the day) before. Herbs might not like to be chopped but the leaves can certainly be picked from the stems in advance. Just cover them with a slightly damp paper towel and keep them in the fridge, unchopped.

With meat, a lot can be done in advance. Meatballs can be made up and rolled (ready to be cooked when needed) or even seared in advance (ready to be warmed through before serving). Chicken thighs or beef sirloin can be marinating a day or two ahead of when you’re ready to cook. Slow-cooked stews can be made a day or two ahead and then, again, warmed through before serving.

Desserts, as well, can very often be made ahead. Ice creams sit happily in the freezer, many cakes and most cookies keep well in an airtight container, and fridge cakes take up residence in, well, the fridge. Other times it’s about elements that can all be made in advance, ready to be put together before serving (the cherries and crumble and cheesecake, for example, in the cheesecake on this page), leaving a minute’s worth of assembly to do before a knockout dessert is brought to the table.

The joy of make-ahead recipes is that, with the knowledge that most of the work is done, you can then actually be in the moment when it comes to serving and enjoying a meal. Having friends and family over is as much about hanging out together as the food that you eat, and there shouldn’t be a big gap between the relaxed fun of planning a meal and the reality of making it happen. People don’t go to their friends’ house expecting food to be served à la minute and checked at the pass. That is what restaurants are for. If you’re someone who likes to plan and get ahead, don’t turn into a crazy-person chef the night your friends are coming over for supper.

 

 

pantry

What people have in their cupboard depends, obviously, on what they like to cook and eat. The fact that my cupboard shelves are always home to a tub of tahini, some green tea, and dark chocolate does not, I know, mean that anyone else’s are going to be.

That being said, there are a few things I’ve assumed you will have on hand. If a recipe relies on them, then it will be seen as pantry-led. These everyday ingredients are:

everyday ingredients

Olive oil

Unsalted butter

All-purpose flour

Large eggs

Garlic

Onions

Lemons

Greek-style yogurt

Parmesan (or pecorino)

Herbs

Dried pasta

Rice

Canned beans (lentils, chickpeas, lima beans)

Canned tuna and anchovies

Salt and pepper

You might still have to pick something up—a piece of fresh cod, for example, for the dish of chickpeas with flaked cod (this page) or some spinach leaves for the gigli pasta (this page)—but my thinking is that you’ll be able to stop by just one shop on the way home rather than have to write a long list or go out of your way.

As well as these everyday ingredients, there are 10 “Ottolenghi” ingredients I’m assuming you won’t have in your cupboard already, which I’m urging you to go out and buy. Simple cooking is often about injecting as much flavor as possible into a dish in a way that is quick and easy. These are some of my favorite little flavor bombs to help you to do that. They all have a long shelf life and are used again and again throughout the book.

“Ottolenghi” ingredients

Sumac

Za’atar

Urfa chile flakes

Ground cardamom

Pomegranate molasses

Rose harissa

Tahini

Barberries

Black garlic

Preserved lemons

For more on what these ingredients are, where to find the best version of them, and why they’re so good to have in the cupboard, see this page.

What you have in your cupboard changes, of course, according to the season. A dish of roasted mushrooms and chestnuts (this page) is something you’ll be able to magic up around Christmas in a way that you couldn’t in the less festive months.

Pantry recipes are also meant to be versatile. My fridge-raid salad dressing (this page), for example, uses the herbs that needed to be used up when making the recipe, but it’s going to work as well without the tarragon and with a bit more basil, if that’s what you have. The chocolate fridge cake (this page) is about as robust as a dessert can be. I’ve suggested the dried fruit, chocolate flavor, and alcohol I like to add to the mix, but start with what you have in your cupboard and take it from there. There’s something particularly satisfying about making a meal out of what you already have around.

 

 

lazy

Lazy cooks are busy off doing something else while the meal is making itself. These are the slow-cooked stews simmering on the stove while you’re in the garden, the whole head of celery root you leave to roast in the oven for hours, the chicken legs that have been marinating overnight and now just need to be transferred to a baking dish in the oven and left to cook. All the work has been done beforehand, to ensure that the dish gets the flavor it needs, but then it’s up to the combined forces of heat and time to do all the work.

These are also the one-pot or one-sheet pan dishes, low on washing up, high on ease, and big on flavor: the vegetables mixed with one or two things—carrots with harissa, for example, or mushrooms and chestnuts with za’atar—tipped onto a sheet pan and simply roasted.

These are the cakes that need no baking and the rice dishes that can be put into the oven in a baking sheet and forgotten about. These are the dishes that fill your house with smells, don’t fill your sink with washing up, and allow you to get on with those jobs you never seem to get around to—or, alternatively, to delight in the possibility of actually being lazy and returning to bed with the paper.

 

 

easier than you think

Easy cooking, like simple cooking, depends on what kind of cook you are. One person’s idea of easy is different than the next. Making your own bread, for example, is either something you grew up doing or, on the other hand, have never even contemplated. Pastries, ice cream, labneh, custard—they’re all the same. Sometimes the simplest things—getting couscous or rice perfectly fluffy or an egg perfectly boiled—can floor one. The “E” recipes in this book will show you how much easier dishes can be than you think.

Other recipes that fall into this category are the ones that look or sound a bit restauranty but are actually super easy. The burrata with grilled grapes and basil (this page), and the Trout tartare with browned butter, and pistachios (this page) are examples. These both read as though they should be served in a high-end restaurant, but you’ll be amazed by how easy they actually are. Don’t be intimidated, also, by recipe names that have French or Italian words in them. Confit, carpaccio, and clafoutis all sound like you should only try the recipe if you’ve been to cooking school, but it’s all just a ruse!

This is true of all cooking, really. Notwithstanding words in languages you might not speak, if you can read you can cook, and if you know what kind of cook you are—a make-ahead cook or a short-on-time cook or a whatever-I-have-in-my-cupboard cook—then things will be simpler still. None of us are one set type or the other, of course; we are all sorts of different cooks for all sorts of different occasions and times in our lives. My hope, though, is that for all those who want their food to remain abundant and bold but the cooking of it to be simple, the Ottolenghi SIMPLE structure here will be a kitchen liberation.

 

 

a note about ingredients, make-ahead recommendations, and oven temperatures

Unless otherwise stated: All eggs are large, all milk is whole, all weights in parentheses are net, all salt is table salt, black pepper is freshly cracked, parsley is flat-leaf, and all herbs are fresh. Onions are white, olive oil is extra-virgin, and lemon and lime pith are to be avoided when the zest is shaved. Onions, garlic, and shallots are all in need of peeling, unless otherwise stated. Preserved lemons are small. Belazu rose harissa has been used throughout the book; different varieties and brands of harissa vary greatly from each other so the instruction to increase or decrease the amount needed is always given. Flour is measured by scooping the cup into the bin and leveling with a knife.

When a recipe (or parts of the recipe) can be made ahead, estimates are given for how far in advance this can be: up to 6 hours, up to 2 days, up to 1 week, and so forth. Different conditions will affect how long something lasts, though—how long it has been kept out of the fridge, how hot the kitchen is, etcetera—so make-ahead recommendations must be weighed on a case-by-case basis as to whether something is still in good shape to eat. When instructed to keep something in the fridge, if made in advance, it will be best eaten once brought back to room temperature (or warmed through) rather than eaten fridge-cold.

We also recommend using an oven thermometer as all ovens will vary.

 

 

Braised eggs with leek and za’atar

 

 

This is a quick way to get a very comforting meal on the table in a wonderfully short amount of time. It’s a dish as happily eaten for brunch, with coffee, as it is for a light supper with some crusty white bread and a glass of wine. The leeks and spinach can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept in the fridge, ready for the eggs to be cracked in and braised.

 

Serves six

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

2 extra-large leeks (or 4 smaller), trimmed and cut into ¼-inch/½ cm slices (6 cups/530g)

salt and black pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed

½ small preserved lemon, seeds discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped (2½ tbsp)

1¼ cups/300ml vegetable stock

7 oz/200g baby spinach leaves

6 large eggs

3¼ oz/90g feta, broken into ¾-inch/2cm pieces

1 tbsp za’atar

 

Put the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil into a large sauté pan with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the leeks, ½ tsp of salt, and plenty of pepper. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft. Add the cumin, lemon, and vegetable stock and boil rapidly for 4–5 minutes, until most of the stock has evaporated. Fold in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until wilted, then decrease the heat to medium.

 

Use a large spoon to make 6 indentations in the mixture and break 1 egg into each space. Sprinkle the eggs with a pinch of salt, dot the feta around the eggs, then cover the pan. Simmer for 4–5 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.

 

Mix the za’atar with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and brush over the eggs. Serve at once, straight from the pan.

 

 

Harissa and Manchego omeletes

 

 

I like to eat this either for brunch or for a speedy supper, with a fresh tomato and avocado salad on the side. The onions can be caramelized 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge, so it is worth making a double batch of these. Add a tablespoonful to scrambled eggs or couscous salad, for example. Make the egg mixture the day before if you like and let it sit in the fridge. Everything is then ready to be poured into the pan.

 

Serves four

5 tbsp plus 2 tsp/85ml olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced (2½ cups/250g)

12 large eggs, lightly beaten

7 tbsp/100ml whole milk

4½ tbsp/65g rose harissa (or 50 percent more or less, depending on variety; see this page)

2 tsp nigella seeds

¾ cup/15g cilantro, roughly chopped

salt and black pepper

4 oz/110g Manchego, coarsely grated

2 limes, halved, to serve

 

Preheat the broiler to high.

 

Put 3 tbsp of the oil into a medium (8-inch/20cm) ovenproof frying pan and place over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onion has caramelized and is a deep golden brown. Tip into a large bowl and add the eggs, milk, harissa, nigella seeds, half the cilantro, ½ tsp of salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.

 

Wipe clean the pan you cooked the onions in, increase the heat to medium-high, and add 2 tsp of the oil. Pour in one-quarter of the egg mixture, swirling it around so that the mixture is evenly spread. After 1 minute, sprinkle with one-quarter of the Manchego and place under the broiler for 1 minute for the cheese to melt and the eggs to puff up and finish cooking. Using a spatula, ease around the edges of the omelete to slide it out of the pan and onto a plate. Keep warm while you continue with the remaining egg mix in the same way, adding more oil with each batch, to get 4 omeletes.

 

Serve at once, with the remaining cilantro sprinkled on top and a lime half alongside.

 

 

Zucchini and ciabatta frittata

 

 

This is a regular feature at home on the weekend, when Karl and I are feeding friends. We tend to serve it with a mixed herb and leaf salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and a few chunks of feta crumbled over it. The frittata manages to be light, fluffy, and comforting in a way that you can only get when you soak bread with milk and cream. Don’t waste the ciabatta crusts: they can be blitzed into fresh breadcrumbs and freeze well. This can be baked about 4 hours in advance and then warmed through for 5 minutes before serving. Ideally it should be eaten on the day it is baked, but it will keep in the fridge for 1 day; just warm through for 10 minutes.

 

Serves six

1 lb 2 oz/500g ciabatta, crusts removed, roughly torn (6 cups/250g)

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp/200ml whole milk

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp/200ml heavy cream

2 large garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ tsp ground cumin

3 oz/80g Parmesan, finely grated

salt and black pepper

2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (4 cups/430g)

1¼ cups/25g basil leaves, torn

2 tbsp olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

 

Put the ciabatta, milk, and cream into a medium bowl and mix well. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes, for the bread to absorb most of the liquid.

 

Put the garlic, eggs, cumin and ¼ cup/50g of Parmesan into a separate large bowl with ¾ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Mix well, then add the bread and any remaining liquid, followed by the zucchini and basil. Stir gently.

 

Place an 8 x 10-inch/20 x 25cm baking dish in the oven for 5 minutes, until hot. Remove from the oven, brush with the oil, and pour in the zucchini mix. Even out the top and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the last of the Parmesan evenly on top of the frittata, then bake for another 20–25 minutes, until the frittata is cooked through—a knife inserted into the center should come out clean—and the top is golden brown. Set aside for 5 minutes, then serve.

 

 

Portobello mushrooms with brioche and poached eggs

 

 

As with all dishes that involve eggs and toast and getting ready in the morning, this is all about timing. Ideally, you want the mushrooms and toast coming out of the oven about the same time, and the eggs poached and ready soon after. Get the mushrooms cooking first, put the bread into the oven halfway through, and then get the eggs poaching. This works as well as a starter late in the day as it does in the morning. Use duck eggs for an extra-rich twist.

 

Serves four

14 oz/400g portobello mushrooms, sliced ½-inch/1cm thick

5 tbsp/75ml olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ tsp ground cinnamon

flaked sea salt and black pepper

¼ cup/5g basil leaves

⅛ tsp ground red pepper, plus extra to serve

4 slices of brioche, cut ¾-inch/2cm thick (about 5¼ oz/150g)

4 large eggs

⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp/100g sour cream, to serve

 

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

 

Mix the mushrooms with 3 tbsp of the oil, 1 garlic clove, ¼ tsp of the cinnamon, ½ tsp flaked salt, and a good grind of pepper. Spread out on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring after 7 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Toss with the basil and set aside.

 

While the mushrooms are in the oven, mix the remaining 2 tbsp of oil with the remaining ¼ tsp of cinnamon, 1 garlic clove, the pepper flakes, and ¼ tsp of flaked salt. Brush the oil and spices on one side of the brioche slices and place on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet, brushed side up. With about 6 or 7 minutes left for the mushrooms, put the bread into the oven alongside the mushrooms and toast until the bread is golden brown and crisp.

 

Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan with plenty of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-high and carefully break in the eggs. Poach for 1½ minutes for a runny yolk (or a little longer for a firmer set).

 

Divide the brioche among four plates and top each slice with the mushrooms so that they are all ready. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and spoon them on top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle each egg with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper flakes and serve warm, with a spoonful of sour cream alongside.

 

 

Scrambled harissa tofu

 

 

This was brought onto our menu as a vegan option for breakfast. It’s been flying off the pass to all of our customers, vegan or not, ever since, as an alternative to eggs. We serve it on thick slices of grilled sourdough bread with a fresh green salad alongside. It’s also lovely with a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots. If you think you’ll get into the habit of making this for breakfast, double or quadruple the harissa onions—a batch keeps well in the fridge for around 5 days and turns this into a meal that can be ready in 5 minutes. Thanks to Claire Hodgson.

 

Serves six

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced (3 cups/300g)

AVOCADO AND CUCUMBER SALAD

½ English cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced on an angle (¾ cup/180g)

2 green chiles, seeded and thinly sliced

3 ripe avocados, thinly sliced (14 oz/400g)

1 cup/20g cilantro leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp nigella seeds

salt

1½ tbsp rose harissa (or 50 percent more or less, depending on variety; see this page)

1½ lb/700g silken tofu, drained

6 slices of sourdough, toasted

 

Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onions and fry for 9–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramelized and soft.

 

While the onions are frying, mix the cucumber, chiles, avocado, cilantro, oil, lime juice, and nigella seeds with a rounded ¼ tsp salt and set aside.

 

Add the harissa to the onions and continue to stir for 1 minute, then add the tofu and ¾ tsp salt. Use a potato masher to break up the tofu so it looks like scrambled egg and continue to heat for 2 minutes, until it’s hot. Serve the scrambled tofu on the toast with the salad alongside.

 

 

Avocado butter on toast with tomato salsa

 

 

The only way to make a creamy, rich avocado even more creamy and rich is, of course, to add some creamy rich butter. Don’t worry that it will be a case of too much of a good thing; the salsa does what all good salsas do, bringing freshness, sharpness, and balance to whatever it sits alongside.

Make sure your avocados are nice and ripe and that your butter is supersoft so that they blend together properly. Don’t be tempted to speed things along by melting the butter, which will cause it to separate. Just leave it at room temperature for a few hours. Both the salsa and avocado butter can be made 1 day in advance, if you like. Store them separately in the fridge.

 

Serves two generously or four as a snack

2 or 3 very ripe avocados, at room temperature, flesh scooped out to get 9 oz/250g

¼ cup/60g unsalted butter, softened and cut into ¾-inch/2cm cubes

3 limes: finely zest to get 2 tsp, then juice to get 2 tbsp

salt

½ cup/10g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

½ cup/10g dill, roughly chopped

7 oz/200g cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tsp capers, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra to serve

black pepper

4 slices of sourdough (10 oz/300g)

1 small garlic clove, peeled and halved

¼ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed

 

Put the avocado and butter into the bowl of a small food processor with half the lime zest, half the lime juice, and ½ tsp salt. Blitz until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times if you need to. Transfer to a small bowl along with two-thirds of the tarragon and dill. Fold in the herbs, then refrigerate for 10 minutes.

 

To make the salsa, mix together the tomatoes, capers, remaining lime zest, remaining lime juice and the oil with a good grind of pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

 

Grill or toast the bread, then rub one side of each piece with the cut side of the garlic clove. Leave the bread to cool down just a little, then spread each slice with the avocado butter and top with the tomato salsa. Sprinkle with the cumin seeds and the remaining herbs. Finish with a grind of pepper and a drizzle of oil, and serve.

 

 

Beet, caraway, and goat cheese bread

 

 

Making a bread that requires no yeast or kneading has got to be the definition of simple! The texture is more cakey as a result and best eaten with some salted butter (not used to make sandwiches). If you are warming it through, do so in the oven rather than in the toaster, as it’s quite crumbly. Once baked, it will keep in an airtight container for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month—thaw before slicing and toasting.

 

Makes one loaf, ten slices

½ cup/50g rolled oats

½ cup/20g thyme leaves, finely chopped

⅓ cup/50g pumpkin seeds

2 tsp caraway seeds

2 tsp nigella seeds

¾ cup/100g all-purpose flour

⅔ cup/100g plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

salt

1 medium beet, peeled and finely grated (2 cups/200g)

2 large eggs

⅓ cup/80ml sunflower oil, plus 1 tbsp extra for greasing

⅓ cup/80g sour cream

1 tbsp honey

¾ oz/20g Parmesan, finely grated

4¼ oz/120g young and creamy goat cheese, roughly broken into ¾-inch/2cm pieces

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8 x 4-inch/20 x 10cm loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

 

Mix the oats, thyme, pumpkin, caraway, and nigella seeds in a small bowl. Put both flours into a separate bowl with the baking powder, baking soda, and ¾ tsp of salt. Whisk to combine and aerate, then add the grated beet and all but 1 tbsp of the oat and seed mix. Don’t stir the mixture; just set it aside.

 

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, sour cream, honey, and Parmesan. Pour over the flour and beet mixture, then, using a spatula, mix to combine. Add the goat cheese and carefully fold through, trying not to break the pieces as you go.

 

Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp of the oat and seed mix. Bake for 40 minutes, then cover tightly with foil and bake for another 40 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle will not come out completely clean, but it should not be too wet. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and invert the bread so it is resting seed side up. The exterior will be quite crisp and dark. Cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

 

 

Cornbread with Cheddar, feta, and jalapeño

 

 

This is such a nice thing to bring to the table, served hot from the oven, out of the pan. It’s a stand-alone bread—delicious as it is—but also happy to share a plate with bacon and avocado salad.

This bread is best eaten on the day it’s baked, but it’s still fine the next day; just warm it through in the oven. It also freezes well, for up to 1 month. If you don’t have any fresh corn, you can defrost frozen corn kernels to use instead.

 

Serves ten to twelve

1 small ear corn, kernels cut off (mounded 1 cup/150g)

1 cup/140g all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne

firmly packed ¼ cup/50g light brown sugar

salt and black pepper

1⅓ cups/180g instant polenta

1½ cups/360g sour cream

2 large eggs

9 tbsp/135ml olive oil

4 green onions, roughly chopped

½ cup/10g cilantro leaves, chopped

1 jalapeño chile, finely chopped

FOR THE TOPPING

3½ oz/100g feta, crumbled

1¼ cups/100g aged Cheddar, coarsely grated

1 jalapeño chile, cut into thin rounds

½ red onion, cut into ¼-inch/½ cm slices

2 tsp nigella seeds

 

Heat the oven to 375°F.

 

Put a large (10-inch/25cm) ovenproof cast-iron pan over high heat. Once hot, add the corn and dry-fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until slightly blackened. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

 

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cumin, and cayenne into a large bowl. Add the sugar, along with 1½ tsp salt and a good grind of pepper. Stir and set aside.

 

Put the polenta, sour cream, eggs, and ½ cup/120ml of the oil into a separate bowl and whisk lightly. Add to the dry ingredients, then fold in the green onions, cilantro, jalapeño, and toasted corn until just combined.

 

Use the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to lightly grease the base and sides of the pan used to toast the corn, then pour in the cornbread mixture and scatter all the topping ingredients over it. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Serve the cornbread hot, straight from the oven, or let cool for 30 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature the same day. If serving it the next day, warm it through in the oven just before you need it.

 

 

Pea, za’atar, and feta fritters

 

 

This is pretty much a roll call of my favorite things: green peas, ricotta, za’atar, and feta. Add the words fritter and fried and I’m the one at the stove, eating them straight from the pan, all hot and crispy. For those with more restraint, they also work at room temperature, though they lose their crunch. The batter can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for 1 day; just hold back on adding the baking powder and mint until you are ready to start frying.

I’ve served them here with a wedge of lemon to squeeze on top, but if you want to add an extra twist, make a little sour cream sauce to have instead of (or as well as) the lemon. Just mix 1¼ cups/300g sour cream with ½ cup/10g chopped mint leaves, 2 tsp dried mint, ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest, and ¼ tsp salt.

 

Makes eight fritters, to serve four to eight

1 lb 2 oz/500g frozen peas, defrosted

4¼ oz/120g ricotta

3 large eggs, beaten

1 lemon: finely zest to get 1 tsp, then cut it into 6 wedges, to serve

salt and black pepper

3 tbsp za’atar

⅔ cup/100g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

1 cup/20g mint leaves, finely shredded

7 oz/200g feta, crumbled into ¾-inch/2cm pieces

about 3⅓ cups/800ml sunflower oil, for frying

 

Put the peas into a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly crushed, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, eggs, lemon zest, ¾ tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper. Mix well, then add the za’atar, flour, and baking powder. Mix until just combined, then gently fold in the mint and feta; you don’t want the chunks of feta to break up.

 

Pour the oil in a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, use 2 small spoons to scoop up balls or quenelles of the mixture. Don’t worry about making them uniform in shape, but they should be about 1½ inches/4cm wide. Carefully lower them into the oil—you should be able to do 4 at a time—and fry for 3–4 minutes, turning once, until cooked through and golden brown. If they are cooking too quickly and taking on too much color, just decrease the temperature so that the middle also cooks through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate while you continue with the remaining fritters. Serve warm, with a wedge of lemon alongside.

 

 

Iranian herb fritters

 

 

These can be snacked on as they are, at room temperature, or served with a green tahini sauce and some extra herbs. If you want to make the tahini sauce, just blitz 3 tbsp/50g tahini, 1½ cups/30g parsley, ½ crushed garlic clove, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and ⅛ tsp salt for 30 seconds and pour in ½ cup/120ml water. Adding the water last allows the parsley to get really broken up and turns the sauce as green as can be. This sauce is lovely spooned over all sorts of things—grilled meat and fish and roasted vegetables, for example—so double or triple the batch and keep it in the fridge. It keeps well for about 5 days. You might want to thin it with a little water or lemon juice to get it back to the right consistency.

These fritters are a bit of a fridge-raid, using up whatever herbs you have around. As long as you keep the total net weight the same and use a mixture of herbs, this will still work wonderfully. The batter will keep, uncooked, for 1 day in the fridge.

Alternatively, pile the fritters into pita bread with condiments, such as a combination of yogurt, chile sauce, pickled vegetables, and tahini. You’d just need one fritter per person, rather than two.

 

Makes eight fritters, to serve four to eight (depending on whether everyone is having one in a pita or two as they are)

2 cups/40g dill, finely chopped

2 cups/40g basil leaves, finely chopped

2 cups/40g cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1½ tsp ground cumin

1 cup/50g fresh breadcrumbs (from about 2 slices, crusts left on if soft)

3 tbsp barberries (or currants, see this page)

⅓ cup/25g walnut halves, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

8 large eggs, beaten

salt

¼ cup/60ml sunflower oil, for frying

 

Place all the ingredients, apart from the oil, in a large bowl with ½ tsp of salt. Mix well to combine and set aside.

 

Put 2 tbsp of the oil into a large nonstick pan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ladles of batter to the pan. Do 4 fritters at a time, if you can—you want each of them to be about 5 inches/12cm wide—otherwise just do 2 or 3 at a time. Fry for 1–2 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside while you continue with the remaining batter and oil.

 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

Chilled cucumber, cauliflower, and ginger soup

 

 

Gazpacho is so often the go-to for a chilled summer soup that it’s easy to forget about other options. This alternative is fresh and full of textures. If you see Lebanese cucumbers, do get them. They’re smaller and firmer than the larger cucumbers, and because they have so much less water, have a lot more taste.

This soup will keep for 2 days in the fridge. The almonds need to be fried and added just before serving.

 

Serves four

4 fresh mint sprigs

5-inch/12cm piece of ginger, peeled (3¼ oz/90g); two-thirds roughly grated and the remaining third cut into thin slices, about ⅛-inch/3mm thick

salt

½ large cauliflower, broken up into ¾-inch/2cm florets (3½ cups/350g)

3 large English cucumbers (or 8 small Lebanese cucumbers), peeled, seeded (if large), and roughly chopped (4 cups/650g)

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups plus 2 tbsp/500g Greek-style yogurt

2 tbsp lemon juice

white pepper

¼ cup/60ml olive oil

⅔ cup/70g sliced almonds

2 tsp dried mint

 

Pour 3⅓ cups/800ml of water into a medium saucepan and add the fresh mint sprigs, the thinly sliced ginger, and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then add the cauliflower and blanch for 2–3 minutes, until just cooked but still al dente. Drain and set aside. Discard the mint and ginger.

 

Place the cucumbers in an upright blender or food processor with the grated ginger, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp white pepper. Blitz until smooth, then chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

 

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add the almonds. Cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring often, until the almonds are a light golden brown. Transfer to a separate bowl and stir in the dried mint. Add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool.

 

When ready to serve, divide the cauliflower florets among four bowls and pour the chilled soup over them. Spoon the almond mix on top and serve.

 

 

Beefsteak tomato carpaccio with green onion and ginger salsa

 

 

As ever with tomato dishes, particularly when the tomatoes are uncooked, this is all about the quality of the ingredients. The tomatoes need to be superripe and sweet and the sherry vinegar needs to be best quality (such as Valdespino). Double or triple the salsa, if you like; it’s absolutely delicious spooned over all sorts of things—roast chicken, for example—or on toast topped with mozzarella or avocado (or both), and it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Once assembled, this dish will also keep in the fridge for up to 6 hours, but bring it back to room temperature before serving. Thanks to Ixta Belfrage for spotting this on the table next to her in Chinatown and being intrigued enough to ask for a plate.

 

Serves four as a side

1¼-inch/3cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (1 tbsp)

flaked sea salt

4 green onions, very thinly sliced (¾ cup/45g)

2½ tbsp sunflower oil (or other mild oil)

2 tsp good-quality sherry vinegar

14 oz/400g beefsteak tomatoes (about 2, depending on size), sliced 1∕16-inch/2mm thick

¼ green chile, seeded and finely chopped

1½ tbsp finely shredded cilantro

1 tbsp olive oil

 

Put the ginger and ½ tsp flaked salt into a pestle and mortar and crush to a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl with the green onions and stir to combine.

 

Put the oil in a small pan and place over low heat until just warm (you don’t want it to heat too much). Pour over the green onions and add 1 tsp of the vinegar. Stir and set aside.

 

Lay the tomatoes on a large platter, with the slices slightly overlapping. Season with ¼ tsp of flaked salt and drizzle with the remaining 1 tsp of vinegar. Spoon the green onion and ginger salsa evenly over the tomatoes (or use your hands to better effect), scatter the chile and cilantro on top and finish with the olive oil.

 

 

Tomato and cucumber raita

 

Pictured with Lima bean mash with muhammara (this page)

 

 

The chile paste will keep for 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge. Once assembled, the dish will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

 

Serves four generously

GREEN CHILE PASTE

1½ small preserved lemons, seeds discarded, skin and flesh roughly chopped (¼ cup/50g)

2 green chiles, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press

2½ tbsp olive oil

⅔ cup/200g Greek-style yogurt

½ cup/10g mint leaves, finely shredded

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and finely crushed

1 English cucumber (or 3 or 4 small Lebanese cucumbers), quartered lengthwise, seeded, and flesh cut into ½-inch/1cm dice (2 cups/300g)

½ onion, finely chopped (½ cup/75g)

7 oz/200g cherry tomatoes, quartered

salt

 

Place all the ingredients for the chile paste in the bowl of a food processor, with ¼ tsp of salt. Blitz to form a rough paste and set aside.

 

Put the yogurt in a bowl and whisk with the mint, lemon juice, 1½ tsp of the cumin seeds, and rounded ¼ tsp salt. Add the cucumber, onion, and tomatoes and stir gently. Transfer to a shallow bowl and top with chile paste. Swirl lightly, sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp of cumin seeds and serve.

 

 

Zucchini, thyme, and walnut salad

 

 

The garlic oil can be made in advance and kept for 3 days at room temperature. Zucchini become watery soon after the salt has been added, so if preparing these more than 4–6 hours in advance, hold back on the seasoning and lemon juice until just before serving.

 

Serves four

3 tbsp olive oil

6 thyme sprigs

1 lemon: finely shave the peel to get about 6 strips, then juice to get 2 tbsp

1 garlic clove, skin on and smashed with the flat side of a knife

4 zucchini (a mix of green and yellow looks great if you can find both), sliced into long thin ribbons using a potato peeler or mandoline (1 lb 5 oz/600g)

⅔ cup/60g walnut halves, roughly chopped

salt and black pepper

¾ cup/15g basil, roughly shredded

 

Put the oil, thyme, lemon strips, and garlic into a small skillet. Place over low heat to warm and infuse for 8 minutes, until the oil becomes aromatic and the garlic, lemon, and thyme start to color. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, strain the oil into a large bowl. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs and add to the oil. Discard the lemon and garlic.

 

Add the zucchini, walnuts, lemon juice, a rounded ¼ tsp salt, and pepper to the oil. Massage all the ingredients for a minute—the zucchini will break up slightly—add the basil, and serve.

 

 

Tomato and bread salad with anchovies and capers

 

 

Get as big a range of tomatoes as you can here. A clash of color looks just great. I could eat this every day through the summer just as it is or with a thin tuna steak alongside.

The toasted sourdough will keep for 4 hours and the tomatoes will keep in the fridge for up to 6 hours—but hold back on adding the basil until just before serving. Keep everything separate, bring back to room temperature, and assemble when ready to serve.

 

Serves four to six

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped (about 1 tbsp)

7½ tbsp/110ml olive oil

flaked sea salt

3½ oz/100g sourdough, crusts left on, sliced ¾ inch/2cm thick, lightly toasted, then cut into 1½-inch/4cm chunks

1 lb 2 oz/500g ripe tomatoes, cut into 1½-inch/4cm chunks

1 lemon: finely zest to get 1 tsp, then juice to get 2 tsp

1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped

¼ cup/5g parsley leaves, finely chopped

¼ cup/5g basil leaves, finely chopped, plus a few extra leaves to serve

1 tsp Urfa chile flakes (or ½ tsp of other crushed red pepper flakes)

 

Put the garlic, anchovy, and olive oil in a medium saucepan, along with ½ tsp flaked salt, and place over low heat. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and anchovies soften when mashed with the back of a spoon. Make sure not to heat the oil too much or the garlic will burn; if the oil does start to bubble, just remove the pan from the heat until it cools. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and add the sourdough chunks to the hot oil. Toss the bread until well coated, then transfer the bread to a large bowl. Leave the anchovy and garlic oil in the pan.

 

Mix the tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, parsley, and basil in a separate bowl.

 

When ready to serve, add the tomato mixture to the bowl of bread. Carefully toss everything, then transfer to a platter or serving dish. Drizzle with the remaining anchovy and garlic oil and finish with the chile flakes.

 

 

Tomatoes with sumac shallots and pine nuts

 

Pictured with Chopped salad with tahini and za’atar (this page)

 

 

The quality of your tomatoes makes all the difference here. They need to be the ripest and sweetest you can find. This is my go-to salad in the summer, eaten as is, with some crusty bread to mop up the juices, or served as part of whatever else is on the table. Chunks of ripe avocado are also a nice addition.

The shallot slices can be prepared 1 day in advance and kept in the fridge. If you want to make the dish ahead, slice the tomatoes up to 6 hours in advance and store in the fridge, ready for the oil, basil, and seasoning to be added when you are ready to serve.

 

Serves four

1 large shallot, sliced paper-thin (⅓ cup/70g)

1½ tbsp sumac

2 tsp white wine vinegar

salt

1½ lb/700g mixed tomatoes (a mix of large tiger, green and red plum, red and yellow cherry; or a single variety if that is all you can get)

2 tbsp olive oil

¾ cup/15g basil leaves

black pepper

¼ cup/25g pine nuts, toasted

 

Place the shallot in a small bowl with the sumac, vinegar, and ⅛ tsp salt. Use your hands to mix them—you want the sumac to really be massaged into the shallots—then set aside for 30 minutes to soften.

 

Slice the large tomatoes in half lengthwise and then into ½-inch/1cm wedges and place in a large bowl. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise and add to the bowl. Pour in the olive oil and mix gently with the basil leaves, a rounded ¼ tsp salt, and a generous grind of pepper.

 

Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter. Spread the shallot slices over them, lifting some of the tomatoes and basil from under the shallots to rest on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve.

 

 

Chopped salad with tahini and za’atar

 

Pictured on this page

 

Adding tahini to an otherwise familiar tomato and cucumber salad can be a real revelation. You need to start with a brand of tahini that is creamy, nutty, and smooth enough to pour. These tend to be the Israeli, Palestinian, or Lebanese brands (rather than the Greek and Cypriot ones, which don’t taste as good). This is lovely as a starter, with the blocks of feta, or served alongside some grilled lamb or rice with lentils (with or without the feta).

 

Serves four as a starter or side

6 ripe plum tomatoes (or any other sweet red tomato), cut into ½-inch/1cm dice (4 cups/650g)

3 or 4 Lebanese (small) cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber), cut into ½-inch/1cm dice (2 cups/300g)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch/1cm dice (1 cup/150g)

5 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle (rounded ¾ cup/50g)

¾ cup/15g cilantro, roughly chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

salt

7 oz/200g feta, cut into 4 rectangular blocks (optional)

¼ cup/70g tahini

2 tsp za’atar

 

Place the tomatoes in a sieve sitting over a bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow some of the liquid to drain away. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl (discard the drained liquid), then add the cucumbers, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, lemon juice, oil, and ½ tsp salt. Mix to combine.

 

When you are ready to serve, transfer the salad to a serving bowl, add the feta, and mix gently. Pour the tahini on top and finish with the za’atar and a final sprinkle of salt.

 

 

Gem lettuce with fridge-raid dressing

 

 

This started off as a clean-up of all the herbs Tara had lying around in her fridge that needed using up (but it was so good she ended up buying the herbs all over again to keep making it).

If you’re doing the same, clearing out the vegetable drawer, don’t be too precious about the weight of individual herbs: so long as you keep the total net weight about the same, you’ll be fine.

Make double the recipe for the dressing if you like. It keeps for 3 days in the fridge and is lovely spooned over all sorts of things: a chicken salad or tuna Niçoise, for example, or roasted root vegetables or a simple tomato and feta salad.

Get ahead if you like by making the dressing up to 3 days in advance and storing in the fridge.

 

Serves four as a side

½ very ripe avocado, flesh scooped out (3¼ oz/90g)

1½-inch/4cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (2 tbsp)

1 small garlic clove, crushed

2 lemons: finely zest 1 to get 1 tsp, then juice both to get 3 tbsp

1 green chile, roughly chopped

1 tbsp tahini

5 tbsp plus 2 tsp/85ml olive oil

salt

½ cup/10g basil leaves

½ cup/10g tarragon leaves

½ cup/10g dill

½ cup/10g parsley leaves

½ cup/10g cilantro leaves

¼ cup/60ml water

4 gem lettuces, trimmed at the bottom and cut lengthwise into eighths (14 oz/400g)

2 tsp black sesame seeds (or white), lightly toasted

 

Put the avocado, ginger, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, chile, and tahini into the bowl of a food processor with 5 tbsp/75ml of the oil and a rounded ¼ tsp salt. Blitz to a smooth paste, then add the basil, tarragon, dill, parsley, and cilantro. Blitz again, then, with the machine still running, slowly pour in the water until smooth and combined.

 

Mix the gem lettuce with the remaining 2 tsp of oil and ⅛ tsp salt until combined. Transfer to a platter, spoon the dressing on top, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

 

 

Cucumber and lamb’s lettuce salad

 

Pictured with 5-spice peach and raspberry salad (this page)

 

 

It can be easy to get a bit set in your ways with salad dressing. Trying something new—as I do here, with the ginger and yogurt—can be a real joy. Prep the cucumbers in advance if you like, but don’t mix them with the dressing until just before serving; the salt in the dressing releases the water in the cucumber, so it will become watery if it sits around for too long. If you start with regular-size cucumbers that’s fine, but you’ll need to cut out the watery core before slicing. This is absolutely lovely with all sorts of things—a roast leg of lamb, some grilled salmon, or the pea, za’atar, and feta fritters, on this page, to mention just three.

The dressing can be made 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge. Slice and refrigerate the cucumbers up to 6 hours in advance.

 

Serves four

DRESSING

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, crushed

1¼-inch/3cm piece of ginger, finely grated (1 tbsp)

rounded 1 tbsp plain yogurt

flaked sea salt

5 baby cucumbers (or 1½ English cucumbers; 1 lb 2 oz/500g)

1½ cups/30g lamb’s lettuce

½ cup/10g mint leaves

½ cup/10g cilantro leaves

1 tsp nigella seeds

 

For the dressing, whisk lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and yogurt with a rounded ¼ tsp flaked salt and set aside.

 

Take each cucumber and quarter lengthwise. Then cut each long quarter diagonally into ¼-inch/½ cm slices and place in a large bowl with the lamb’s lettuce, mint, and cilantro. Gently mix the cucumber and leaves with the dressing and spread in a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with the nigella seeds and serve.

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A collection of 130 easy, flavor-forward recipes from beloved chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

In Ottolenghi Simple, powerhouse author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 streamlined recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern–inspired flavors, all simple in at least (and often more than) one way: made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for brilliantly, deliciously simple meals. Brunch gets a make-over with Braised Eggs with Leeks and Za’atar; Cauliflower, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad refreshes the side-dish rotation; Lamb and Feta Meatballs bring ease to the weeknight table; and every sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied by the spectacular Fig and Thyme Clafoutis. With more than 130 photographs, this is elemental Ottolenghi for everyone.

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