Yotam Ottolenghi displays such sincerity and passion for cooking with fresh ingredients, it is impossible not to be swept up into his world of exotic menus and simply beautiful, beautiful food.
Speaking with the owner of a well-known book store about 18 months ago, I asked what his bestsellers were. 'Ottolenghi is hugely popular and we get numerous enquiries about it every day,' he explained. To which, I replied, 'What is Ottolenghi?'.
With the innocence of my question, I proved the point that each of us learns something new and exciting every day!
For those who are still unaware, in a nutshell Yotam Ottolenghi is a chef and cookbook author who was born in Israel and moved to London in 1997 to train at Le Cordon Bleu. He is a philosopher, journalist and pastry chef. With colleagues, Sami Tamimi and Noam Bar, Ottolenghi opened a deli in Notting Hill in 2002, followed by a string of sister stores and a restaurant. He has published and co-authored several books, including Plenty, Ottolenghi the cookbook and more recently, Jerusalem; and has also appeared on a series of documentaries (see below). To my mind, Yotam Ottolenghi displays such sincerity and passion for cooking with fresh ingredients, it is impossible not to be swept up into his world of exotic menus and simply beautiful, beautiful food! I have to say, I just love his style.
I'd like to introduce you to a little Ottolenghi-inspired number that I've been cooking for the past several weeks and I think I just might have fallen in love with this dish, too.
The recipe, or how to assemble this dish, if you will...
OTTOLENGHI INSPIRED-SALAD OF SWEET POTATO, SPINACH,
POMEGRANATE, FETTA & FIGS
1 medium sized sweet potato, skin on
a sprinkle of black garlic salt and cracked pepper
extra virgin olive oil
6 ripe figs, sliced into quarters or halves*
a handful of baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
1-2 tablespoons Persian fetta
sprigs of lemon thyme, to garnish
pomegranate seeds, to garnish
Preheat oven to 190-200 degrees C. Wash the sweet potato, pat dry and slice into quarters lengthways. Brush or spray the sweet potato wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with black garlic salt and cracked pepper. Roast until just tender, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Scatter the baby spinach leaves onto a serving platter. Place the wedges of warm sweet potato on top of the spinach leaves, then arrange the figs, dollops of Persian fetta, sprigs of lemon thyme and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately+.
*Use dates if figs are not in season. +As there is no 'dressing' per se, the salad is also good the following day. Refrigerate overnight. This quantity serves 1-2.
This salad is based on a recipe on page 26-27 of Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press), but is completely my own interpretation and creation.
This is my beautiful salad...
And, this is Yotam Ottolenghi...
So, who inspires you and what is the favourite theme or cuisine in your kitchen at present?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.