Guess what I have a copy of in my hot little hands? Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book called Plenty. The books official publication date is 6 May 2010 copies have been on sale in the Ottolenghi stores for the last week or so. The book is solely a vegetarian cookbook and is almost guaranteed to dismiss any notions you may have of vegetarian food being dull and grim. Rather than being based on the food served in the Ottolenghi cafe, Plenty contains the recipes featured in Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian, The New Vegetarian. This means that if you have carefully clipped out the recipes over the years you may be able to get away without buying the book.
Roasted vegetable tart from Plenty
The book is divided into sections based on ingredients. Different vegetables have their own chapter such as mushrooms, green beans and aubergines which is very handy for people who grow their own or get vegie boxes. There is also sections on pulses, cereals and pasta. The dessert chapter is entitled “Fruit with cheese” and is a bit meagre, only containing seven recipes which is a shame when you think of all the brilliant cakes and pastries on display in Ottolenghi’s window displays.
The book is beautiful to look at and each recipe is spread over a page with a full colour photograph on the opposite page. Like Yotam Ottolenghi’s first book, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, the recipes are well written and although often complicated seem almost fool proof (well Gourmet Chick proof). I tried out the roasted vegetable tart which is called a “Very Full Tart”, slow roasting all the vegetables takes a bit of time but makes the flavours bold and strong.
Lots of beautiful photos
So should you buy the book? If you are vegetarian I think this book is almost compulsory because there are so many great ideas for creative and mouthwatering vegetarian dishes. For the rest of us, I prefer Ottolenghi: The Cookbook because it includes meat and seafood recipes as well, desserts and puddings are covered in length and all the best dishes from the Ottolenghi cafes are also included. If you are an Ottolenghi fan though I am guessing you will just have to have both books anyway.
Cooking the onions and bay leaves
Roasted Vegetable Tart
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
100ml olive oil
1 aubergine diced into 4 cm pieces
1 sweet potato peeled and died into 4cm pieces
1 courgette diced into 4cm pieces
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
300g shortcrust pastry
8 thyme sprigs picked
7 cherry tomatoes, halved
200ml double cream
Salt and pepper to season
The vegetables once roasted
1. Preheat oven to 230C. Remove the pepper stalks and seeds, place the peppers in an oven tray, drizzle with oil and roast.
2. Mix the aubergine with four tablespoons of oil and season. Tip into an oven tray and roast.
3. After 12 minutes add the sweet potato, stir and roast for 12 minutes more.
4. Add the courgette, stir and roast for another 12 minutes.
5. Once the peppers are brown and the vegetables cooked remove them all from the oven and tun the heat down to 160C.
6. Cover the peppers with foil and leave to cool, once cool peel off the skin and tear the peppers into strips.
7. Meanwhile heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook the onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes stirring occasionally until brown, soft and sweet. Discard the bay leaves and set aside.
8. Grease a 22cm tart tin. Roll the pastry to a 3mm thick circle large enough to line the in with some overhang. Press it into the edges and line with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice. Bake blind for 20 minutes, lift out the weights or rice and bake the tart case for a further 10 to 15 mintues or until golden brown.
9. Remove the tart case from the oven and spread the onions over the bottom, then top with the roasted vegetables. Scatter over half the thyme, dot with chunks of both cheeses and then the tomato.
10. Whisk the eggs and cream with some salt and pepper and pour into the tart, the tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme on top.
11. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the filling sets and turns golden.
12. Rest for 10 minutes then trim off the excess pastry and serve.
Serves four to six. Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook or of the cooking course I did with Sami Tamimi, Yotam’s partner in Ottolenghi.
Thanks to Ebury for a review copy of Plenty.