Book review: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Mark Hughes Book Reviews 0 Comments

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

What is the secret to Ottolenghi’s demi-god status? Is it the pure simplicity of some of the recipes, with most having only three or four ordinary ingredients that come together to create something truly wonderful? Maybe. Is it because of the vibrant, almost jewel-like pinks, greens and purples that betray bold flavours before the food has even reached your mouth? Perhaps that too.

For us though, it’s because it looks, well, pure.

Many people associate Ottolenghi with vegetarian food and, yes, it is true that meat-free recipes take centre stage in this book, but there are also enough fantastic meat and seafood dishes to satisfy any meat lover. Skipping over the vegetarian-friendly recipes though would be missing out the heart of this book. I mean, who wouldn’t devour a plate of Figs with Pecorino or French Beans and Mange Tout with Hazelnuts and Orange? Exactly.

It uses spice wisely and not liberally on anything and everything, as seems to be fashionable nowadays. As such, the Roasted Beef Fillet recipe uses only beef fillet, oil, salt and pepper. OK, there’s three quite robust sauces as accompaniments, but I think you see our point. We also find some of our favourite ingredients, Sumac and Harissa, are used to marinate chicken before taking the dish in a different direction with a red grapefruit salad.

Zesty, punchy, vibrant – this book rocks flavour and is a must for anyone who loves big, brash (yet refined) flavours using the purest of ingredients. So, get lemons, grapefruit, pomegranate, feta, fresh herbs as much green vegetables as you can muster and set to work. In doing so, I’ll bet my ears that you’ll find at least one recipe here that will become a trusted friend in times of culinary need.

Note for these book reviews:

Like many others, our shelves are  groaning under the weight of cookbooks, some celebrity, some less well known. Of course, we have plenty of the Jamie, Heston and Hugh FW collections, but there’s also quite a few gems that have a lower profile, most undeservedly so. So we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you in the hope you’ll do the same and we’ll all be a little richer because of it. These are books chosen from our own collection, many which we’ve had for years, and only mentioned here because we love them! In case it helps, we’ve added a link to Amazon.co.uk so you can read other reviews and maybe see what offers they have on any that might take your fancy.

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