Let there be no question: I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s food and his cookbooks. He has delivered a cookbook each year from 2011 and now we welcome number four: Plenty More .
Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Photographs © 2014 by Jonathan Lovekin
Facts: Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing, 352 pages, $35.00(or Amazon Hardcover $21.03, Kindle $14.95)
Photos: At least one per recipe, sometimes more
Recipes: 152, more or less
Ottolenghi is a master, particularly of vegetables. These creative, tasty and unique combinations insure that one will ever tire of vegetable dishes. Ever.
Plenty, the release just previous to Plenty More, hooked me on Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango, Honey Roasted Carrots with Tahini Yogurt, and Saffron Cauliflower. I want to cook his books like Julie and Julia.
He claimed to not “want to be pigeonholed as someone who cooks only vegetables” but he’s stellar in his creative combinations. Unlike his previous cookbooks, Plenty More offers techniques in constructing/arranging a dish thereby maximizing the impact of flavor and texture.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Plenty More is how its contents are arrayed. The table of contents offers chapters by twelve methods of cooking including Tossed, Braised, Fried, Cracked, Baked and so on.
A few examples: “Steamed” introduces Miso Vegetables and Rice with Black Sesame Dressing; “Blanched” contains Sprouting Broccoli and Edamame Salad with Curry Leaves and Coconut; “Fried” has Polenta Chips with Avocado and Yogurt plus Pea and Mint Croquettes; “Roasted” has Smoked Beets with Yogurt and Caramelized Macadamias (I should have looked for recipes with shorter names – but that’s what this guy is all about – he could have coined the phrase “the devil is in the details”).
One thing is certain – One of his restaurants is a destination on my next trip to London. (In my excited state I planned to go directly from Heathrow to his Notting Hill restaurant. Then reality set in and I knew I should delay several hours as I’d rather have dinner than breakfast.) BTW, I planned this before Conde Nast Traveller featured Ottelenghi’s in “Restaurants Worth Flying For.”
Photograph © 2014 by Jonathan Lovekin
Ottolenghi suggests “Serve this cake as a light supper alongside a makeshift salad of sliced cucumber, dill, a little sugar, cider vinegar, and canola oil. Wrapped well, this cake will taste even better the next day.”
Serves four to six
1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1¼-inch florets (1 lb/450 g)
1 medium red onion, peeled (6 oz/170 g)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
7 eggs (scant 1 lb/440 g)
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoons round turmeric
5 ounces coarsely grated Parmesan or another mature cheese
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC.
2. Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.
3. Cut 4 round slices, each 1/4-inch thick, off one end of the onion and set aside.
4. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.
5. Line the base and sides of a 9-1/2-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.