Three must-try recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook

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He’s sold nearly two million cookbooks, brought Middle Eastern cuisine to the masses and built a veritable restaurant empire. Now, Yotam Ottolenghi has called in the help of Nopi head chef Ramael Scully (better known simply as Scully) to bring 120 recipes from his flagship London restaurant to food lovers everywhere.

Translating the recipes from high-end restaurant to home kitchen was a big hurdle, but one the pair have easily overcome. “The biggest challenge was to take recipes that are seriously complicated and simplify them without losing a sense of the food,” says Ottolenghi. “The problem with some restaurant cookbooks is the processes are too long or too complicated. We’ve tried to keep it technically quite simple.”

Combining Ottolenghi’s signature Middle Eastern flavours with Malaysian-born Scully’s Asian influences, the book is full of inventive flavour combinations, mouth-watering photography and the pages are even edged in gold. Trust us, you’re going to want it on your bookshelf. Here are three of our favourite recipes to try at home.

Celeriac purée with spiced cauliflower and quail’s eggs

Ingredients (serves 6)

For the celeriac purée:

  • 60ml olive oil, plus 1 tbsp to serve
  • 1 large onion, roughly diced (160g)
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large celeriac, peeled and cut roughly into 2cm pieces (600g)
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • Coarse sea salt and black pepper

For the spiced cauliflower:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (160g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely grated (650g)
  • 2 tbsp finely diced preserved lemon skin
  • 90g almonds, skin on, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 50g parsley, roughly chopped

For the quail’s eggs:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 or 12 quail’s eggs

1. First make the celeriac purée. Place the 60ml of olive oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for 5–6 minutes, stirring often, until soft and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for another minute before adding the celeriac. Fry for 8–10 minutes, stirring often, so that all sides are golden-brown. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the celeriac is cooked through. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and transfer to a blender or food processor. Blitz to form a smooth purée before adding the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

2. Put the oil for the spiced cauliflower into a large sauté pan and place on a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the ras el hanout and cook for another minute. Pour over 100ml of water and stir through for a minute before removing from the heat. Fold in the cauliflower, preserved lemon, almonds, half of the parsley and 1 teaspoon of salt and set aside to cool.

3. When ready to serve, divide the purée between six plates. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of oil over each portion, spread the cauliflower on top and sprinkle over the smoked paprika and remaining parsley.

4. To fry the quail’s eggs, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the oil. When hot, crack each egg individually into the pan and fry for 30–60 seconds. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper, then place an egg or two on top of each portion of cauliflower and serve at once. 

Corn cakes with beetroot and apple salad

Ingredients (serves 6 as a generous starter or light lunch)

For the corn cakes:

  • 5 medium corn cobs, husks removed, or 500g frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 3 small banana shallots, finely diced (100g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, lightly toasted
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 15g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted, plus 20g extra for greasing the moulds
  • 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 60g feta, broken into 6 or 12 chunks (depending on size of muffin tray)
  • Coarse sea salt and black pepper

For the beetroot and apple salad:

  • 120g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Valdespino sherry vinegar (or another good-quality sherry vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, roasted and coarsely crushed, plus 1/2 tsp extra, to garnish
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 15g parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium raw beetroot, peeled and julienned (200g)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and julienned (140g), kept covered with water with some lemon juice, to prevent discoloration, if prepared in advance

To serve:

  • 5g baby basil or small regular basil leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Grease the six moulds of a muffin tray very well with butter and line with squares of baking parchment, cut large enough so that the sides rise a couple of centimetres above the muffin tray.

2. Place all the ingredients for the salad, apart from the beetroot and apple, in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside until ready to serve.

3. Place each cob perpendicular on your chopping board and use a large sharp knife to shave off the kernels: you should have about 500g. Discard the cob and transfer the kernels to a food processor, along with the shallots and garlic. Pulse for 3–4 seconds, until the mixture is roughly processed but has not turned to a wet purée. Add the fennel seeds, cumin, celery seeds, tarragon, baking powder, butter and egg yolks, along with 11/2 teaspoons of salt and a very good grind of black pepper. Blitz a few more times, to combine – some of the corn kernels will still be whole – then transfer to a medium bowl. Fold the flour in by hand and set aside.

4. Place the egg whites in a separate medium bowl and whisk to form firm peaks. Fold a third of the whites gently into the corn mixture – you don’t want to overwork it – and then, once it has incorporated, continue with the next third and then the next. Once fully incorporated, divide the mixture between the moulds and then insert a chunk of feta into each. Push it halfway down the corn mixture: the cakes will puff up around the cheese when they cook. Bake for 25–40 minutes, depending on the size of your moulds, until the cakes have risen and are golden and fluffy: the mixture will still be a bit wet at this point. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before lifting them out of the tray.

5. Add the beetroot and apple to the salad dressing just before serving and mix together gently. Serve the warm cakes with the salad alongside, sprinkled with the remaining fennel seeds and the basil leaves.

Courgette and manouri fritters

Ingredients (makes 12 fritters, to serve 4)

For the fritters:

  • 3 medium courgettes, trimmed and coarsely grated (580g)
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped (50g)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • 60g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 150g manouri cheese (or halloumi or feta), roughly broken into 1–2cm chunks
  • About 150ml sunflower oil, for frying
  • Coarse sea salt and black pepper

For the lime and cardamom soured cream:

  • 200ml soured cream
  • 5g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the soured cream sauce in a small bowl, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grind of black pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.

2. Place the grated courgettes in a colander and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 10minutes, then squeeze them to remove most of the liquid: you want the courgettes to keep a little bit of moisture, so don’t squeeze them completely dry. Transfer to a large bowl and add the shallots, garlic, lime zest, flour, eggs, ground coriander, cardamom and a grind of black pepper. Mix well to form a uniform batter, then fold in the manouri cheese gently so it doesn’t break up much.

3. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan so it rises 2–3mm up the sides and place on a medium heat. Once hot, add 4 separate heaped dessertspoons of mixture to the pan, spacing them well apart and flattening each fritter slightly with the flat side of a slotted spoon as they cook. Cook for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through, until golden and crisp on both sides. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate and keep somewhere warm while you continue with the remaining two batches. Place 3 fritters on each plate and serve at once, with the sauce alongside or in a bowl on the side.

Photography: Jonathan Lovekin

If looking at these recipes is making you salivate with the thought of getting your teeth into one of these dishes, then we hugely recommend you get yourself down to Stylist Live on Friday 16 October, when Yotam Ottolenghi himself will be sharing his insights on 2016's culinary trends and reveals his can't-live-without ingredients. 

Get your tickets here. 

Stylist Live is a four-day festival of cocktails, culture, catwalks and conversation hosted by Edith Bowman and Dawn O’Porter on Thursday 15 – Sunday 18 October 2015


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