Book Review: Ottolenghi FLAVOUR

Ottolenghi is a well known name in the foodie world and flavour-forward, vegetable-based recipes are at the heart of Yotam Ottolenghi’s food. His latest book, Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, combines simple recipes for weeknights, low-effort high-impact dishes, and standout meals for the relaxed cook.

This beautiful hardcover book is packed with colourful food photography that will inspire you to try something new in the kitchen, but not only will it inspire you what to cook, but how and why flavour works. Even those who aren’t big veggie fans will want to hit up the fresh produce aisle immediately and fall in love with the humble and healthy vegetables…

Yotam and co-writer Ixta Belfrage break down the three factors that create flavour and offer innovative vegetable dishes that deliver brand-new ingredient combinations which reveal how to tap into the potential of ordinary vegetables to create extraordinary food:

  1. Process explains cooking methods that elevate veg to great heights;
  2. Pairing identifies four basic pairings that are fundamental to great flavour;
  3. Produce offers impactful vegetables that do the work for you.

With delicious favourites such as Aubergine Dumplings alla Parmigiana, Hasselback Beetroot with Lime Leaf Butter, Miso Butter Onions, Spicy Mushroom Lasagne and Romano Pepper Schnitzels, plus mouthwatering photographs of nearly every one of the more than 100 recipes, Ottolenghi FLAVOUR is the next-level approach to vegetable cooking that Ottolenghi fans, and vegetable lovers everywhere, have been craving. This third instalment in Ottolenghi’s PLENTY series celebrates their limitless potential and explores the innovative techniques and combinations that create deliciously unique dishes.

Chaat masala potatoes with yoghurt and tamarind

There is a delicious chaat masala potatoes with yoghurt and tamarind recipe – a riff on the popular Indian street food dish aloo chat while the Portobello steaks and butter bean mash is a sure-fire ‘Sunday night comfort food’.

Below is a recipe from Ottolenghi FLAVOUR for you to try at home.

Recipe

SUPER-SOFT COURGETTES WITH HARISSA AND LEMON

Serves four as a side or a mezze

Courgettes aren’t strictly speaking controversial, but they do tend to get a pretty lukewarm reaction from many. The reason for this is probably courgettes’ high water content, which tends to make them watery.

There are plenty of ways to combat this – frying and grilling are two examples – but we actually use it to our advantage here, cooking the courgettes slowly in their own juices, making them fantastically soft and enhancing their flavour by a long soak with fried garlic.

The courgettes are very good hot, but are even better after 15 minutes or so, or even at room temperature, once the flavours have had a chance to get to know each other. Make them a day in advance, if you want to get ahead; just hold off on adding the basil until you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients

85ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tbsp rose harissa (adjust according to the brand you are using)
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ preserved lemon, finely chopped, discarding any pips (10g)
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1kg courgettes, finely sliced
10g basil leaves, roughly torn
salt

Method

Place a large, non-stick sauté pan on a medium-high heat with the oil and garlic. Gently fry for 4 minutes, stirring often, until soft, golden and aromatic. You don’t want the garlic to become at all browned or crispy, so turn the heat down if necessary.

Remove 3 tablespoons of oil, along with half the garlic, and transfer to a small bowl with the harissa, chilli, preserved lemon and lemon juice. Stir together and set aside.

Return the pan to a high heat and add the courgettes and 1¼ teaspoons of salt. Cook for 18 minutes, stirring often, until the courgettes are very soft, but are still mostly holding their shape (you don’t want the courgettes to brown, so turn the heat down if necessary).

Stir through half the basil and transfer to a platter. Spoon the harissa mixture over the courgettes. Leave to sit for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and finish with the remaining basil.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage

Yotam Ottolenghi is an award-winning author of several recipe books – including SIMPLE, PLENTY, and PLENTY MORE. He is also the restaurateur and chef-patron of several delis, as well as the NOPI and ROVI restaurants. Ixta Belfrage began her culinary career at Ottolenghi’s NOPI restaurant, before moving to the Test Kitchen, where she has worked for Yotam Ottolenghi for four years. She lives in London, where she makes regular guest chef appearances in some of the city’s top restaurants. Flavour is her first book.

 

Buy Ottolenghi FLAVOUR at all good book stores as well as online at Loot and Takealot.

 

Recipe extracted from Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press)

Photography: Jonathan Lovekin

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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