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Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

by and

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook Cover




Our food impulse


We wanted to start this book with the quip, “If you don’t like lemon or garlic … skip to the last page.” This might not be the funniest of jokes, but, considering lemon and garlic’s prevalence in our recipes, it is as good a place as any to start looking for a portrait of our food. Regional descriptions just don’t seem to work; there are too many influences and our food histories are long and diverse. True, we both come from a very particular part of the world—Israel/Palestine—with a unique culinary tradition. We adore the foods of our childhood: oranges from Jericho, used only to make the sweetest fresh juice; crunchy little cucumbers, full of the soil’s flavors; heavy pomegranates tumbling from trees that can no longer support their weight; figs, walnuts, wild herbs.... The list is endless.


We both ate a lot of street food—literally, what the name suggests. Vendors selling their produce on pavements were not restricted to “farmers’ markets.” There was nothing embarrassing or uncouth about eating on the way to somewhere. Sami remembers frequently sitting bored in front of his dinner plate, having downed a few grilled ears of corn and a couple of busbusa (coconut and semolina) cakes bought at street stalls while out with friends.


However, what makes lemon and garlic such a great metaphor for our cooking is the boldness, the zest, the strong, sometimes controversial flavors of our childhood. The flavors and colors that shout at you, that grip you, that make everything else taste bland, pale, ordinary, and insipid. Cakes drenched with rose-water-scented sugar syrup; piles of raw green almonds on ice in the market; punchy tea in a small glass with handfuls of mint and sugar; the intense smell of charred mutton cooked on an open fire; a little shop selling twenty types of crumbly sheep and goat’s milk cheeses, kept fresh in water; apricot season, when there is enough of the fruit lying around each tree to gorge yourself, the jam pot, and the neighborhood birds.


These are the sources of our impulse. It is this profusion of overwhelming sensations that inspires our desire to stun with our food, to make you say “wow!” even if you’re not the expressive type. The colors, the textures, and finally the flavors that are unapologetically striking.


Sweet potato galettes \ makes 4


Spicy, sweet, and punchy, baked fresh and served warm, this is the sort  of starter that can precede almost anything. The generous sour cream base and the lightness of the puff pastry carry the sweet potato easily without the risk of a carb overdose. Serve with a plain green salad.



3 sweet potatoes,  about   12 oz / 350 g each

9 oz / 250 g puff pastry or   ½ recipe Rough puff pastry   page 280

1 free-range egg, lightly beaten

6½ tbsp / 100 ml sour cream

3½ tbsp / 100 g aged goat   cheese

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 medium-hot chile, finely   chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

coarse sea salt and freshly   ground black pepper



1 Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins for 35 to 45 minutes, until they soften up but are still slightly raw in the center (check by inserting a small knife). Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into slices 1⁄8 inch / 3 mm thick.


2 While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, roll out the puff pastry  to about 1⁄16 inch / 2 mm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut  out four 2¾ by 5½-inch / 7 by 14-cm rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, place the pastry rectangles on it, well spaced apart, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.


3 Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of sour cream on the pastries, leaving a ¼-inch / 5-mm border all round. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry, slightly overlapping, keeping the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and chile. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Check underneath; it should be golden brown.


4 While the galettes are cooking, stir together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. As soon as the pastries come out of the oven, brush them with this mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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andshecooksandcooks, December 15, 2013 (view all comments by andshecooksandcooks)
All of Ottolenghi's books are fabulous. I was so glad to learn this first book finally got published for the American market. his first book I bought, Plenty, was fantastic. I made the cover recipe for a very special rehearsal dinner. Then his second book I bought, Jerusalem, has also been a winner. The beet dip is amazing and addictive for beet lovers. I had no hesitation when I learned his first book came out in the U.S. I knew I would love it and consider it one of my favorite cookbooks. sure you can look up recipes online, but it is not the same as turning the pages of the book, loving the photos of the dishes and the people living in Ottolenghi's community. It is a stellar book, and I so highly recommend it.
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Product Details

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Ten Speed Press
Ottolenghi, Yotam
Tamimi, Sami
Cooking and Food-UK and Ireland
Middle Eastern
Cooking and Food-Mediterranean
Publication Date:
10.8 x 7.9 x 1.1 in 2.8 lb

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » British Isles
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » International General
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » Jewish
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » Mediterranean
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » Middle Eastern
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » UK and Ireland
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$35.00 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Ten Speed Press - English 9781607744184 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Anyone who likes food or cooking or eating will enjoy this deeply satisfying cookbook. The authors of Jerusalem: A Cookbook bring the Eastern-influenced flavor combinations from their popular U.K. restaurants into our American kitchens. All presented with inspiring photography.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Available for the first time in a U.S. edition, this book includes 140 recipes from Ottlenghi's four popular Mediterranean-inspired London restaurants. (The authors also co-wrote Jerusalem; Tamimi is a partner and head chef at Ottolenghi.) Both from Jerusalem, the authors share the philosophy that 'unfussiness and simplicity in food preparation are... the only way to maintain the freshness of a dish. Each individual ingredient has a clear voice.' A detailed list of the book's core ingredients includes garlic, lemon, mint, tahini, orange blossom water, rose water, and feta cheese. An extensive chapter on vegetables, legumes and grains covers fresh fruit and vegetables (figs with young pecorino and honey), and has a section devoted to the 'mighty eggplant.' Highlights include Ottolenghi's famous grilled broccoli with chile and garlic, along with couscous with oven-dried tomatoes, and dried apricots and butternut squash. Meat and fish are separated into sections: lamb, beef, and pork dishes with recipes like lamb chops with walnut, fig, and goat cheese salad; beef and lamb meatballs baked in tahini; and roast pork belly with two relishes. Standout dishes like harissa-marinated chicken with red grapefruit salad and seared duck breasts with blood orange and star anise are found in the poultry section. And fish and shellfish are showcased in recipes for panfried sea bass on pita with labneh, tomato, and preserved lemon, and for buttered prawns with tomato, olives, and arak. Also appearing are Ottolenghi's beloved baked goods: breads, cakes, cookies, and tarts. This vibrant and bold collection lives up to the authors promise that 'cooking can be enjoyable, simple, and fulfilling, yet look and taste amazing.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "This is simply wonderful cooking...modern, smart, and thoughtful. I love it."
"Review" by , "Ottolenghi and Tamimi have a genius for adding intrigue to every dish, for making spices and herbs surprising, and for combining flavors that draw us in and warm our hearts. Each recipe in this book has the mark of originality and the power to inspire."
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