On most Sunday's, you can find me at Barnes and Noble feverishly working on my laptop and sipping on an in-house espresso. I love having my makeshift travel office there because the environment gets my creative juices flowing with minimal distraction. Weeks ago, I read an article on Real Simple, titled, 8 New Cookbooks for Fall 2014. The one that visually stood out the most was, Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. Until recently, I had never heard of him. So I decided to find out who this guy was--whose name you had to pronounce slowly, and why he's so popular right now. As it turns out, he is quite the cat's meow.
Surprisingly Yotam Ottolenghi is a chicken soup of ethnicity. He's Jerusalem born, with German/Italian parents, and resides in West London. As a well known and resounded chef, he specializes in all ranges of cooking--but does his best work with Middle Eastern style vegetable dishes. As a '97 Cordon Blue graduate, he has since written four award-winning cookbooks with the recent release of, Plenty More. He also owns four award-winning deli's and a restaurant. Oddly enough, he's a qualified Pilates Instructor. So if you're ever in London, stop by for some beautifully created vegetable dishes, and maybe an ab workout.
In the recipe below, I changed a couple things because the items were not immediately available to me. I also performed a couple tasks differently than what the recipe directed. Therefore, this recipe is slightly changed from it's original version.
Ottolenghi's Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini
Vegetable Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 10 1/2 ounces purple sprouting broccoli (or 9 ounces broccolini, or just plain broccoli)
- 4 ounces haricots verts, trimmed (see notes below)
- 6 1/2 ounces snow peas, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 1/3 cups cilantro leaves
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp. nigella seeds (see notes below)
Sweet Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 1/2 tablespoons tahini butter (drained of excess oil)
- 2 small clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon tamari sauce
- 1 1/2 mankua honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- salt for taste
1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You want the consistency to be smooth and thick but pourable, a bit like honey; add a tiny bit of extra water or tahini paste if needed to adjust thickness.
2. Trim off the broccoli leaves. If the stems are thick, cut them lengthwise in half or in quarters so you are left with long, thinner stems, similar in proportion to the haricots verts.
3. Bring a pot filled with plenty of unsalted water to a boil. Blanche the haricots verts for about 4 minutes, until just cooked but still retaining a bite. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the haricots verts to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove, and then dry well with a tea towel.
4. In the same boiling water, blanch the snow peas for 2 minutes. Using the slotted spoon to remove them from the water, then refresh and dry as before. Repeat the same process with the broccoli, blanching it for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Once all the vegetables are cooked and dry, mix them together in a bowl with the oil. You can now serve the salad in two ways.
Option 1 Serving: Mix most of the cilantro and seeds with the vegetables and pile up on a serving dish. Pour the sauce on top and finish with the remaining cilantro and seeds.
Option 2 Serving: Mix most of the cilantro and seeds with the vegetables and pile up on a serving dish. Dot them with cilantro leaves and sprinkle with seeds, and serve with sauce in a bowl on the side.
Notes from Above. This author uses terms that may be unfamiliar with common household folks like myself. Below are the terms and the meanings of the ingredients:
Haricots Verts: Long Green Beans
Nigela Seeds: aka, kalongi, black cumin, or black onion seed. These black seeds are native to Southern Europe & Asia. Those familiar to Indian or Middle Eastern cooking probably already have this stocked in their pantry. This may be hard to find in your big box stores, but may be in a specialty store. You can also order them online. Acceptable substitutes include cumin seed, celery seed, or oregano. I used celery seed in this recipe.