Easy Ottolenghi summer recipes: vegetables | Food (2024)

Easy Ottolenghi summer

The first rule of cooking with vegetables in summer is to use the bright colours of the season to paint your plate

  • Easy Ottolenghi summer: starters and snacks
  • Easy Ottolenghi summer: meat and fish
  • Easy Ottolenghi summer: puddings
  • Yotam Ottolenghi

    Sat 8 Jul 2017 09.00 BST

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    Fennel salad with pistachios and oven-dried grapes

    It might seem a bit much to roast grapes for a so-called “easy” salad, but in reality that only involves putting them on a tray and into the oven. You can roast them ahead of time, too: at room temperature, these little sweet flavour bombs will keep for a day, ready and waiting to take on the acidity of the dressing. Serves four to six as a starter or side dish.

    500g seedless red grapes
    2½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed slightly
    2 tsp soft dark brown sugar
    Flaked sea salt and black pepper
    2 small fennel bulbs, cut lengthways into 3-4mm-thick slices (use a mandoline, ideally); fronds reserved
    60ml olive oil
    1 lemon, zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
    Finely grated zest of ½ orange
    ½ tsp nigella seeds
    30g mint leaves, roughly torn
    50g shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

    Heat the oven to 140C/285F/gas mark 1.

    Line a 28cm x 18cm baking tray with greaseproof paper. Put the grapes in a medium bowl with the fennel seeds, sugar, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of water, toss to coat the fruit in the mix, then spread out on the prepared tray.

    Roast for an hour, until the grapes are shrivelled and soft, then leave to cool.

    Put the fennel in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, pour this over the fennel and toss so it’s all coated in the dressing. Leave to steep for 10 minutes, to soften the fennel.

    Just before serving, mix the lemon and orange zest, nigella seeds, mint, any fennel fronds and half the pistachios into the fennel bowl. Stir through half the roasted grapes, then spread out the salad on a large platter. Scatter the remaining grapes and pistachios over the top, sprinkle on a final half-teaspoon of salt and serve.

    Tomato and bread salad with anchovies and capers

    You need good, ripe tomatoes for this, and unless you grow your own, that will mean buying them from a greengrocer: their range is generally much better than anything you’ll ever find in any supermarket. I could eat this every day throughout the summer. Come to think of it, I just might. Serves four to six.

    4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    6 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped
    110ml olive oil
    Flaked sea salt
    100g sourdough bread, cut into 2cm-thick slices, lightly toasted and cut again into 4cm chunks
    500g ripe tomatoes, cut into rough 4cm chunks
    1 lemon, zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then juiced, to get 2 tsp
    1 tbsp capers, drained (or rinsed, if salted) and roughly chopped
    5g parsley leaves, finely chopped
    5g basil leaves, finely chopped
    1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp if using a stronger chilli flake)

    Put the first three ingredients and half a teaspoon of salt into a small saucepan on a low heat. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and anchovies soften when mashed with the back of a spoon. Take care that the oil does not get too hot, otherwise the garlic will catch and burn. If the oil does start to bubble too much, just take the pan off the heat until it cools down a little, then return to the stove.

    Off the heat, toss the toasted chunks of sourdough in the hot oil until well coated, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the bread to a large bowl, leaving the anchovy and garlic oil in the pan.

    Put the tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, three-quarters of the parsley and three-quarters of the basil in the bread bowl, and gently toss everything together to combine.

    Transfer the salad to a serving platter, drizzle over the anchovy and garlic oil, scatter the remaining herbs on top and finish with a sprinkling of chilli.

    Roast asparagus, leeks and beans with sorrel salsa

    Roasting is a great way to cook spring and summer vegetables; it gets a similar result to blanching and grilling, but with much less effort. If you can’t find sorrel, use spinach and a tablespoon and a half of lemon juice. I love this just as it is, but to turn it into a heartier meal, serve with smoked trout or mackerel, or roast chicken. Serves four as a side dish.

    300g long asparagus, woody ends removed and cut in half lengthways
    150g baby leeks, trimmed and cleaned
    300g french beans, trimmed
    105ml olive oil
    3 lemons, all zested, to get 1½ tbsp, and 1 cut into wedges, to serve
    Salt and black pepper
    65g sorrel, roughly torn
    10g parsley leaves
    1½ tsp Dijon mustard
    40g pecorino romano, finely shaved
    15g pine nuts, lightly toasted

    Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7 and position an oven shelf near the top of the oven.

    Put the asparagus, leeks and beans in a large bowl with three tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon and a half of lemon zest, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Mix well, then spread out on two 40cm x 30cm baking trays. Roast the veg one tray at a time (that way, both batches will benefit from being cooked at the top of the oven) for 12 minutes, until the vegetables are partially cooked but still bright green and crunchy. Transfer to a large bowl to cool, discarding any water that may have collected in the tray, and repeat with the second tray.

    While the vegetables are cooling, make the salsa. Put the sorrel, parsley and mustard in the small bowl of a food processor with the remaining oil and lemon zest, and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and blitz to a smooth, vibrant paste.

    Once the vegetables are cool, discard any water that may have collected in the bottom of their bowl, then add the salsa and toss to coat. Arrange on a large platter, scatter evenly with the pecorino shavings and pine nuts, and serve with the lemon wedges.

    Grilled beef tomatoes with chilli, garlic and ginger

    Eat these with good, country-style bread to mop up the oil. They can be bulked up into a punchy starter with the addition of some burrata or mozzarella, or serve for brunch alongside scrambled eggs. Serves four.

    75ml olive oil
    2 long red chillies, cut into 0.5cm-thick rounds (discard the seeds if you don’t like too much heat)
    4 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
    4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
    20g coriander stalks, cut into 4cm-long lengths, plus 5g coriander leaves, to garnish
    1.1kg beef tomatoes (ie, 4-5 tomatoes), cut widthways into 1cm-thick rounds
    Flaked sea salt and black pepper
    1½ tsp black mustard seeds, lightly toasted

    Turn the grill to its highest setting.

    Heat the oil in a medium pan on a medium heat, then gently fry the chilli, garlic and ginger for five minutes, stirring every once in a while, until the garlic is just starting to brown. Add the coriander stalks and fry for a minute or two more, until the garlic is a light golden-brown and the chilli aromatic, then transfer the solids to a plate with a slotted spoon, to stop them cooking.

    Arrange the tomato slices on a 30cm x 40cm baking tray, making sure they do not overlap, then brush with two tablespoons of the aromatic oil. Sprinkle with a teaspoon and a half of salt and a generous grind of pepper, then position the tray about 5cm below the heat source and grill for 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes have started to brown. Remove, pour over most of the remaining oil and the reserved fried aromatics, and leave to steep for 10 minutes.

    When you are ready to serve, arrange the tomato slices on a large platter, overlapping them a little for appearances’ sake. Scatter the coriander leaves and mustard seeds over the top, then pour over any oil and cooking juices left in the pan.

    Brown rice with caramelised onion and black garlic

    This rich rice dish is lovely with lamb, pork or steamed veg. Don’t be afraid to caramelise the onions properly: the darker the colour, the sweeter they will be. Serves four as a side.

    100ml sunflower oil
    3 large onions, peeled and cut into 2cm-wide wedges
    2 lemons, skin finely shaved, then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
    200g brown rice, rinsed
    10 black garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    150g Greek-style yoghurt
    10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped

    In a large saute pan for which you have a lid, heat 85ml oil on a medium-high flame, then fry the onions with a quarter-teaspoon of salt for 12 minutes, stirring from time to time, so they don’t catch. Add the lemon skin, fry for 12 minutes more, stirring often, until the onions are caramelised and dark, then transfer to a plate.

    Fry the remaining oil, rice and a teaspoon of salt in the same pan for a minute, stirring continuously, then add 500ml water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the onions, lemon juice and black garlic. Serve at once, topped with a generous spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkle of parsley.

    Curried egg and cauliflower salad

    This is what coronation chicken would taste like if you swapped the chicken for cauliflower and boiled eggs. Serves four to six.

    1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and broken into 3-4cm florets (discard any tough outer leaves, but leave young pale ones attached)
    1 onion, peeled and cut into 1cm-thick wedges
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp mild curry powder
    Salt and black pepper
    9 eggs
    100g Greek-style yoghurt
    50g mayonnaise
    1 tsp aleppo chilli flakes (or ½ tsp if using a hotter chilli flake)
    1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
    2 lemons, 1 juiced, to get 1 tbsp, the other cut into 6 wedges
    10g tarragon, roughly chopped

    Turn the oven to its highest setting. Mix the cauliflower in a large bowl with the onion, oil, two teaspoons of curry powder, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Spread out on a 30cm x 40cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast for 10-12 minutes, until soft and golden brown, but still with some bite. Remove and leave to cool.

    Bring a medium pan of water to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-high, carefully lower in the eggs and boil gently for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Drain, then return the eggs to the same pan and fill with cold water to stop them cooking. Once cool, peel the eggs, put them in a large bowl and break roughly into large chunks with the back of a fork.

    In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt, mayo, remaining curry powder, half the chilli, half the cumin, the lemon juice and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Add this to the eggs, then stir in the cauliflower, onion and three-quarters of the tarragon, until everything is well coated. Spoon out on to a platter, sprinkle over the remaining tarragon, chilli and cumin, and serve with the lemon wedges.

    Watermelon, green apple and lime salad

    This dish screams summer, it screams virtuous and it definitely screams delicious. Even so, a few salted peanuts, pistachios or cashews would be a welcome addition. Serves six as a side.

    ½ medium watermelon (1.3kg), rind and seeds discarded, flesh cut into 7cm-long x 0.5cm-wide batons
    2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into 7cm-long x 0.5cm-wide batons
    3 limes – zest finely grated, to get 2 tsp, and juiced, to get 3 tbsp
    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 sticks lemongrass, woody outer leaves removed and discarded, trimmed and finely chopped
    5g mint leaves
    10g coriander leaves
    Flaked sea salt
    ½ tbsp black mustard seeds, lightly toasted

    Mix the salad just before serving, otherwise it will go soggy. In a large bowl, mix the watermelon, apple, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil and lemongrass with three-quarters of the herbs and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, lift the salad on to a platter. There will be a fair bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl, but you don’t need all of it – luckily, your hands will act as a natural sieve. Scatter over the remaining herbs and the mustard seeds, add a quarter-teaspoon of salt, toss gently and serve.

    Courgette, pea and basil soup

    The way to keep a green soup green is not to overcook it. Once you’ve added the peas and basil to this, take it off the heat and blitz it straight away. This is gorgeously light, but you can make it more hearty by using chicken stock and topping with fried pancetta. Serves eight.

    75ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
    1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
    6 courgettes, cut into 3cm-thick slices
    Salt and black pepper
    1 litre vegetable stock
    500g frozen peas
    50g basil leaves
    200g feta, broken into 1-2cm pieces
    Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high flame, then fry the garlic cloves for two to three minutes, stirring often, until caramelised. Add the courgettes, two teaspoons of salt and plenty of pepper, and fry for three minutes, stirring, until starting to brown. Pour in the stock and 500ml cold water, bring to a boil and cook on a high heat for seven minutes, until the courgette is soft but still bright green. Add the peas, stir through for a minute, then add the basil, turn off the heat and blitz smooth with a stick blender (or in a liquidiser).

    To serve, spoon into bowls and top with the feta and lemon zest. Finish with a good grind of black pepper and a final drizzle of oil.

    • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay


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