Ottolenghi recipes: 3 innovative vegetable dishes from new cookbook Ottolenghi Flavour

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, will become your foodie bible for autumn 2020 – and we’ve got three recipes to share here.

It’s been two long years since cult chef Yotam Ottolenghi graced the shelves with a new cookbook but today’s the day – and after dabbling in desserts and simple dishes, he’s turning his attention back to his original vegetable-loving roots. 

Once again teaming up with a member of the Ottolenghi cooking family – this time recipe developer and test kitchen chef Ixta Belfrage – the acclaimed foodie has harnessed the increasing popularity of a plant-based diet with Ottolenghi Flavour. Focusing solely on vegetables, the two chefs set their sights on discovering the key factors to creating innovative dishes that pack a flavour punch. And just when you’re thinking, ‘how many ways can you cook a cauliflower?’, they find seven more ways than you thought. 

Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage

Boasting more than 100 recipes, the book is broken down into three parts that shows how different cooking methods can elevate vegetables to their greatest heights, identifies ingredients or flavour pairings that take vegetarian dishes from good to great, and explains how certain types of produce can morph into many different guises. In other words, it’s your new foodie bible that you’ll soon wonder how you lived without.

Ottolenghi Flavour cookbook
Ottolenghi Flavour has more than 100 vegetable-based recipes

Intrigued? Below are three recipes from Ottolenghi Flavour for you to try at home right now. The chaat masala potatoes with yoghurt and tamarind are a riff on the popular Indian street food dish aloo chat, while the super-soft courgettes with harissa and lemon will convert any courgette-haters in your life (and we guarantee there’ll be at least one). And the Portobello steaks and butter bean mash has ‘Sunday night comfort food’ written all over it. 

So grab your reusable tote bag, hit up the vegetable aisle of your local supermarket and be prepared to fall head over heels in love with vegetables… 

Chaat masala potatoes with yoghurt and tamarind

Chaat masala potatoes with yoghurt and tamarind

Serves four as a side

This dish is inspired by aloo chaat, an Indian street food that has many regional variations, all of which are not for the faint-hearted because they are loaded with sweet and sour and a fair bit of crunch. This is a slightly tamer version, though still pretty ‘noisy’, both in flavour and in looks. It’s absolutely perfect for a weekend lunch, alongside other vegetables, such as the aubergine with herbs and crispy garlic, or the radish and cucumber salad with chipotle peanuts. You can also serve it as a side with roasted lamb or chicken. 

Chaat masala is the slightly tangy spice mix that gives this dish its distinctive flavour. It gets its sharpness from amchoor, dried mango powder, which is used widely in Indian cooking as a souring agent. You’d recognise the flavour from samosas and pakoras, where it is often used. Both the coriander chutney and the tamarind sauce are great condiments to have on hand to brighten up sandwiches and wraps, to spoon over eggs, or to serve alongside tofu or fish. 

Double or triple them, if you like – the coriander chutney will keep in the fridge for up to a week and the tamarind sauce for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients

  • 750g baby new potatoes, cut lengthways into 1cm-thick slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 250g Greek-style yoghurt
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds on a mandolin,if you have one, or by hand (45g)
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced into rounds (10g)
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1½ tsp nigella seeds, toasted
  • salt

For the coriander chutney:

  • 30g fresh coriander
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped (10g)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 60ml olive oil

For the sweet tamarind dressing:

  • 1½ tbsp shop-bought tamarind paste, or double if you’re extracting it yourself from pulp
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp chaat masala

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C fan.

Put the potatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt into a medium saucepan and top with enough cold water to cover by about 4cm. Place on a medium-high heat, bring to the boil, then simmer for 6 minutes, or until they’re almost cooked through but still retain a bite. Drain through a sieve and pat dry, then transfer to a large parchment-lined baking tray and toss with the oil, chaat masala, turmeric, ⅓ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roast, stirring once or twice, for 35 minutes, or until deeply golden.

Meanwhile, make the coriander chutney. Put all the ingredients and ¼ teaspoon of salt into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside until needed.

For the tamarind dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl with 1½ teaspoons of water and set aside.

Spread the yoghurt out on a large round serving platter. Top with the coriander chutney, swirling it through without completely incorporating. Drizzle with half the tamarind dressing, and top with the potatoes, onion and chilli. Drizzle over the remaining tamarind, then sprinkle over the seeds and serve.

Super-soft courgettes with harissa and lemon

Super-soft courgettes with harissa and lemon

Serves four as a side or mezze

Courgettes aren’t strictly speaking controversial, but they do tend to get a pretty lukewarm reaction from many, including, regrettably, two of our test kitchen colleagues. The reason for this is probably courgettes’ high water content, which tends to make them, well, 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. (And in the process, we also managed to win over our two courgette-iffy colleagues, we’re happy to announce.)

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.

Portobello steaks and butter bean mash

ottolenghi portobello Steaks and Butter Bean Mash
Portobello steaks and butter bean mash

Serves four as a main

We’re not mad about calling vegetables a ‘steak’ or ‘burger’ or ‘schnitzel’, because it feels like you are trying to pass them off as something else, something superior. Vegetables are great simply as they are. In fact, they are the best! 

Sometimes, though, using a meaty name helps you understand what’s going on and how delicious it is. Our portobellos aren’t trying to be a steak, they are simply as good as any steak (with mash), if not better; in just the same way as our Romano pepper schnitzels are as delectable as any other schnitzel. 

What gives the mushrooms their verve is the chillies and spices and all the flavoured oil that coats them. You’ll make more oil than you need here; keep it refrigerated in a sealed container to spoon over grilled vegetables, noodles, meat or fish. Serve this with some sautéed greens, if you like.

Ingredients

For the portobello steaks:

  • 8 medium to large portobello mushrooms (about 650g), stems removed
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges (150g)
  • 1½ tbsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 1 red chilli (15g)
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400ml olive oil

For the butter bean mash:

  • 1 × 700g jar of good-quality cooked large butter beans, drained (500g) (we use Brindisa Navarrico large butter beans, but you can, of course, use tinned or cook your own)
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • flaked sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C fan.

Put all the ingredients for the steaks and 1 tablespoon of flaked salt into a large ovenproof saucepan, for which you have a lid. Arrange the mushrooms so they are domed side up, then top with a piece of parchment paper, pushing it down to cover all the ingredients. Cover with the lid, then transfer to the oven for 1 hour. 

Turn the mushrooms over, replacing the paper and lid, and return to the oven for 20 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are very tender but not falling apart. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the mushrooms to a chopping board, then cut them in half and set aside.

Use a spoon to remove the onion, garlic and chilli (discarding the stem) – don’t worry if you scoop up some of the spices and oil. Put them into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth. Return the blitzed onion mixture to the saucepan, along with the mushroom halves, and place on a medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, for all the flavours to come together.

While the mushrooms are cooking, make the mash by putting the beans into a food processor along with the lemon juice, olive oil, ½ teaspoon flaked salt and 2 tablespoons of water. Blitz until completely smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook on a medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring, until warmed through.

To serve, divide the butter bean mash between four plates. Top with four mushroom halves per plate and spoon over a generous amount of the oil and its accompanying aromatics (you won’t need all of it, though – see intro).

Extracted from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press, £27), out now

Imagery: Louise Hagger; Jonathan Lovekin

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