Many splendoured things: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for vegetable dishes to feed a crowd (2024)

Christmas is a relatively new experience for me.I've only been celebrating it for a few years – ever since Iteamed up with a"good" Catholic boy – but I already have some very clear ideas about how this thing should be done. (How Jewish is that?!)

I'm terrible at throwing anything away, no matter how little it gets used, and my loved ones get aroundthis affliction simply bynot indulging my hoarding instinct whenit comes to Christmas presents.So, while everyone else gets to delight ina multitude of novelty knick-knacks andnew toys, I'minvariably left to focuson one sensible, what-I-actually-need gift.

The kitchen table, on the other hand, is no place for such restraint, and certainly no place to allow anyone ingredient to dominate, nomatter how impressive. There'salways asense of occasion about having a star of the show, butit's often the chorus of side dishes andsharing plates that is themostfun. Bright green brussels sprouts, roasted and sprinkled withpomegranate seeds andbasil; orange root vegetable mash with redwine-braised shallots; golden yellow champagne and saffron jelly– these are what bring colour totheparty.

The more abundant the platters piled high with vegetables are, the more sharing andpassing around arerequired, which in turn leads to amore convivial dining experience. Yes, thatmighty fish orfowl or prime cut of meat will elicit the initial big "Wow!" but what really keeps everyone together at the tableis the grazing afterwards, reaching for just one more roast parsnip or potato from the communal dish.

Today's recipes, then, are the bestof both worlds, whether you areone of those lucky souls who canexpect to receive all sorts ofnewkitchen kit this Christmas, from home smoker to domestic sous-vide machine, or whether, like me, you'll have to improvise and make do with what you've already got. Even so, I still haven't given uphope of getting just one more garlic press, lemon squeezer or microplanegrater in my stocking.

Grilled squash with bagna càuda

Bagna càuda is a warm dip popular in Piedmont, Italy, that's made withbutter, garlic and anchovies. It's traditionally served like a fondue, placed in a bowl in the centre of the table for communal sharing, and the assembled diners dip in this or that crudité at will. ButI find it also works well as a sauce, spooned on top of cooked vegetables. This version has creamin it, which isn't terribly traditional, but it makes the sauce more hom*ogenous and silky. Try toget your hands on a queen or coquina squash for this dish, if youcan, because it isn't quite as sweet as butternut (the latter would work fine as a substitute, though). Serves four.

1.2kg squash (queen or coquina, forpreference), cut in half lengthways, deseeded and peeled, then cut widthways into 1cm slices
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
50g unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves, crushed
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
200ml double cream
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. In a bowl, mix the slices ofsquash with the oil,a teaspoon ofsalt and a good grind of black pepper. Put a chargrill panon a highheat and, after a couple of minutes, once it's good and hot, addthe squash in batches and cookfor two minutes, turning once, until char marks appear on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray andrepeat with the remaining squash. Once all the squash is charred and on the tray, roast for 15minutes, until cooked through but still with some bite.

To make the bagna càuda, put the butter and garlic in a medium pan on a medium heat. Fry until the garlic starts to turn golden: about two minutes. Add the anchovy, cookfor a minute, turn the heat to medium-low, add the cream and cook for five minutes, so the sauce thickens alittle, then remove from the heat. Spread out the squash on a large plate, spoon the bagna càuda on top and sprinkle with the parmesan, some black pepper and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Smoked beetroot with yoghurt and caramelised macadamias

Many splendoured things: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for vegetable dishes to feed a crowd (1)

For those, like me, who can't rely onbeing given a home smoker this Christmas, you can build your own approximation with just a roll of tinfoil and a big wok or pan for which you have a lid. A timer is essential, because the flavour will become too intense if smoked for too long; a smoke detector is optional (but advisable). Serves four.

250g long-grain rice
Shaved peel of 1 lemon
5 sprigs fresh thyme
12 medium beetroots, skin on
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra fordrizzling
Salt and black pepper
35g caster sugar
50g macadamia nuts
150g Greek yoghurt
½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
5g picked coriander leaves

Heat the oven to its highest setting – 240C/465F/gas mark 9 at least, preferably 250C. Line a large sauté pan or wok with two large sheets oftin foil, leaving the edges generously overhanging the sides. Add the rice, lemon peel and thyme, and stir through two tablespoons of water. Sit the beetroots on top of the rice and seal the pan with a large lid. Draw up the tin foil and fold it back over the lid, to completely seal the beets and lid in foil; any gaps will hamper the smoking process.

Put the pan over a very high flame on the stove top and, once you see a little bit of smoke coming through – after three or four minutes – leave to smoke for exactly eight minutes, then remove from the heat.

Discard the rice, lemon peel andthyme, transfer the beets to abaking tray and roast in the hot oven for 45-50 minutes, or until asharp knife goes in easily. Remove,set aside to cool, then peeloff the charred skin.

Cut the beets into 2mm-thick slices and put them in a large bowl with the maple syrup, a tablespoon of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Mix together and set aside.

Turn down the oven to 140C/285F/gas mark 1. Put the nuts on a roasting tray, bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Meanwhile, line another tray with parchment paper. Put the sugar in a small saucepan and cook on a gentle heat; don't stir as the sugar melts and starts to caramelise and turn golden. Carefully add the nuts, and stir gently to coat. Pour out the sticky nuts on to the lined tray, leave to cool, then chop and set aside. Mix the yogurt with the remaining oliveoil and set aside.

Spread out the beetroot slices on alarge platter, making sure they're slightly overlapping each other. Drizzle over the yoghurt, sprinkle the chopped nuts on top and finish with the chilli flakes, coriander and a final dribble of oil.

Many splendoured things: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for vegetable dishes to feed a crowd (2024)


What is an Ottolenghi salad? ›

Mixed Bean Salad

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi. from Jerusalem. Crisp and fragrant, this salad combines lemon, tarragon, capers, garlic, spring onions, coriander and cumin seeds to bring its base of of yellow beans, French beans, and red peppers to life.

What is Ottolenghi food? ›

It became a place with no single description but was a clear reflection of our obsessive relationship with food. From this, Ottolenghi has developed a style of food which is rooted in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean traditions, but which also draws in diverse influences and ingredients from around the world.

Are Ottolenghi recipes difficult? ›

We cook a fair amount of Ottolenghi recipes at home, because he's one of the regular food writers in our regular newspaper (The Guardian). They are usually fairly simple recipes that focus on a good combination of flavours - even as home cooks, they're not nearly the most complicated things we make.

What is the Bella Hadid salad? ›

Bella's salad is made with a base of arugula topped with cucumber, bell pepper, avocado and parmesan cheese. The best part (she says not to skip it!) is the balsamic glaze on top.

Why is Ottolenghi so popular? ›

The deli quickly gained a cult following due to its inventive dishes, characterised by the foregrounding of vegetables, unorthodox flavour combinations, and the abundance of Middle Eastern ingredients such as rose water, za'atar, and pomegranate molasses.

Does Ottolenghi eat meat? ›

If anything, Mr. Ottolenghi — tall and dapper, with salt-and-pepper hair, half-rim glasses and a penchant for pink-striped button-downs and black sneakers — should be a vegetarian pinup. But here's the rub: he eats meat. Apparently this is enough to discredit him in the eyes of the most devout abstainers.

What to serve with Ottolenghi baked rice? ›

This is such a great side to all sorts of dishes: roasted root vegetables, slowcooked lamb or pork.

Is Ottolenghi A Vegan? ›

The guy's an omnivore but his recipes are overwhelmingly vegetarian and vegan. His vegetarian (not vegan) cookbook Plenty< spent years near the top of Britain's bestseller lists.

Why is it called Waldorf salad? ›

Waldorf salad is named for the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, where it was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary's Hospital for Children on March 13, 1896.

Where is the original Ottolenghi restaurant? ›

Culinary career

In 2002, the duo (in collaboration with Noam Bar) founded the eponymous delicatessen Ottolenghi in the Notting Hill district of London.

Why is it called Israeli salad? ›

It was adopted by Jewish immigrants to the Levant in the late 19th century, who found the locally grown Kirby cucumbers and tomatoes in popular local salad. It was popularized in the kibbutzim, where the Jewish farmers had local fresh produce at hand. The name Israeli Salad is used mainly outside of Israel.


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