Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook, “Plenty More,” arrived yesterday. I confess – I preordered – and was so excited when it arrived at my door! This dish looked perfect for a night in where I was feeling “comfort food” with an Asian angle. The key to this recipe is to prepare all the vegetables ahead of time, because they each braise quickly in a miso, vegetarian dash broth. I chopped all of my vegetables ahead of time, and plated them for easy access.
This dish also has a base of sushi rice. I had forgotten just how tender and sweet this rice can be, even without the added sugar and rice vinegar you often find in other recipes. Sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumber, and bok choy from my garden (instead of the broccolini from the recipe) and some beautiful organic beech mushrooms. Topped with fresh cilantro, chili, roasted peanuts, black sesame seeds and rice wine vinegar, this was a great dinner, and leftovers made a great lunch the next day!
In the last year, I’ve been raving quite about about the grain, vegetable, and citrus zest-happy recipes from the “Simply Natural” cookbooks. As a recipe-referring cook at best, I was shocked to find a cookbook whose recipes I wanted to follow to the letter. Friends, it’s happened again. After reading rave reviews for Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi<;, I put it on my Amazon wish list, and my sister sent it to me for my recent birthday. Let’s just say WOW. You’ll be hearing a lot about this all-vegetarian cookbook on Veggicurious from here on out.
But lets get to the food. A fresh, sweet corn polenta? A revelation. I didn’t even know you could make polenta from fresh corn, and I have a bundle from my CSA. The resulting texture is lighter, fluffier, with a brighter vegetable flavor. Of course, the added butter and feta (feta!) add a real zing to the sweet corn. And the sauce? A very simple, fried eggplant (I used small, white eggplants) with tomato paste, fresh tomato, white wine and oregano. An Italian-style meal with no garlic? I thought impossible. I was wrong. I whipped this amazing dish up in 20 minutes. Then I moaned aloud as I ate it. I moaned to myself, to the animals, and to my housemate who I forced a bite upon as soon as he walked in the door.
This dish is like discovering a country in heaven that you didn’t know existed. I can’t wait to try more recipes from Plenty.