#ottolenghi #ottolenghisimple #tenspeedpress
I was flipping through the book, flagging recipes to try, and read, “This is the dish Patrick Dempsey’s character tells Renee Zellweger’s Bridget Jones that he would have brought her on their imaginary date in Bridget Jones’s Baby. “From Ottolenghi,” says Dempsey, “delicious and healthy!” And easy we might add! What sounded like a bit of product placement on our part was in fact no such thing. The recipe didn’t even exist on our menu, so this is a retrospective acknowledgment.” Okay, I was trying to steer clear of it, and cook absolutely everything else in the book, because it sounds like a one-liner. Curiosity got the better of me. Wowza! Bridget Jones’ Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa is an amazing salmon dish. lol!
This is my 6th Ottolenghi book. If you’ve never tried an Ottolenghi book before, you’re in for a treat! He is a *genius* with produce. If you’re already a produce-head, he’ll show you what is possible with imaginative combinations that offer the most perfect balance of flavor, texture, with colorful, rustic, elegant plating. If you weren’t already a produce-head, if anyone can change that, he can. His meat dishes are quite lovely, too. This book would be the perfect first book of his. It’s easier than the others. Simple is an acronym for S – Short on time, I – Ingredients: 10 or fewer, M – Make ahead, P – Pantry-led, L – Lazy-day dishes, E – Easier than you think. He lists those corresponding letters in subway bubbles over the recipes. If you have all the others, yes, you will absolutely adore this book!
Simple is an omnivore book, as are Jerusalem and Ottolenghi. Plenty and Plenty More are vegetarian. Sweet is fabulous desserts. I haven’t seen NOPI before, so I can’t tell you about that one – sorry!
I’ll tell you all about the rest of the dishes we tried after the recipe for that glorious salmon. A huge thanks to Ten Speed Press for letting me share it with you!
Bridget Jones’s pan-fried salmon with pine nut salsa
S I E
This is the dish Patrick Dempsey’s character tells Renée Zellweger’s Bridget Jones that he would have brought her on their imaginary second date in Bridget Jones’s Baby. “From Ottolenghi,” says Dempsey, “delicious and healthy!” And easy, we might add! What sounded like a bit of product placement on our part was in fact no such thing. The recipe didn’t even exist on our menu, so this is a retrospective acknowledgment.
Serves four (halve the recipe if you’re on that second date!)
¾ cup/100g currants
4 salmon fillets, skin on and pinbones removed (1 lb 2 oz/500g)
7 tbsp/100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
4 medium celery stalks, cut into ½-inch/ 1cm dice (1¾ cups/ 180g), leaves removed but kept for garnish
¼ cup/30g pine nuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup/40g capers, plus 2 tbsp of their brine
1/3 cup/40g large green olives, pitted and cut into ½-inch/1cm dice (about 8)
1 good pinch (¼ tsp) of saffron threads, mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
1 cup/20g parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon: finely zest to get 1 tsp, then juice to get 1 tsp
1. Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes while you prep the salmon and make the salsa.
2. Mix the salmon with 1 tbsp of the oil, a rounded ¼ tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the salsa.
3. Put 5 tbsp/75ml of the olive oil into a large sauté pan and place on a high heat. Add the celery and pine nuts and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water, and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add these, along with the parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set aside.
4. Put the remaining 1 tbsp of oil into a large frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Decrease the heat to medium, then flip the fillets over and continue to fry for 2–4 minutes (depending on how much you like the salmon cooked). Remove from the pan and set aside.
5. Arrange the salmon on four plates and spoon on the salsa. Scatter the celery leaves on top.
Getting back to my review of the book….
By Yotam Ottolenghi
My thoughts and pics of the dishes we tried:
1) 5-Spice Peach and Raspberry Salad – p 41. The sweet peaches are great against the sweet tart raspberries and bitter radicchio. And it’s just so pretty.
2) Seeded Chicken Schnitzel – p 235. Fabulous schnitzel. I love the coriander in the background and then the fresh lemon juice for a great citrus taste against all the seeds.
3) Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter and Black Garlic – p 113. The flavor on this dish is off the charts. The first time we had black garlic, it was in another one of his books. When you do to buy it, it’ll feel squishy. That’s normal.
4) Our dinner.
5) Lamb and Pistachio Patties with Sumac Yogurt Sauce – p 217. The pistachios and arugula running through the meatballs make them so cute, but also give them such an interesting texture and flavor. I finally figured out how his pistachios are such a vibrant green instead of the dull olive ones I usually see. I found raw pistachios in the bulk bins yesterday with that gorgeous color. I had enough sumac for the recipe, but not for the sprinkle he gives the yogurt dip at the end, so I gave it a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper. It has that same deep red pop and the flavors play nicely together.
6) Harissa and Confit Garlic Roasted Potatoes – p 142. These are my favorite potatoes ever. How can you go wrong with garlic in duck fat confit roasted potatoes?! I love the semolina crunch and a just a little spiciness from the harissa. You could double down on the rosemary when you’re not in the mood for harissa. This technique is going to get so much love in my kitchen. I went with the extra grind of salt to finish it off after they roasted.
7) Our dinner. Great combination. It needed nothing else.
8) Tomatoes with Sumac Shallots and Pine Nuts – p 34. Vibrant, fresh, summery taste.
9) Iranian Herb Fritters – p 22. These are predominantly herbs held together by eggs, but what really makes them special are the currants lending a sweetness and toasted walnuts adding in a buttery nuttiness in the background. Just a fantastic breakfast! The sauce over the top is tahini with even more herbs. He doesn’t mention the fresh herb garnish, but does so in the photos, and it’s just so aesthetically pleasing that I had to, too!
10) Blueberry, almond, and lemon cake – p 276. Gorgeous flavor, easy peasy, and not overly sweet. It’s got a velvety, buttery texture, and there’s more almond flour that white flour in this, adding to the flavor and giving it a nice health bonus.
11) Fish Cake Tacos with Mango, Lime, and Cumin Yogurt – p 254. Lovely balance of fruity, citrusy, and tangy with a tiny bit of heat, and pretty pops of color. This was so quick to pull together and such a light, fresh dinner. He mentions skipping the tortillas and opting for a knife and fork if you’re low carb. I could totally see salad underneath instead. I was planning to get sole haddock as a substitution, but it was UK week at my grocer, so I was happily surprised to be able to get plaice fillets.
12) Harissa Beef Sirloin with Pepper and Lemon Sauce – p 224. This is divine. The harissa just dresses the steak without overshadowing it, and it coordinates beautifully with the peppers and lemons. It says serves 4. If your sirloins are huge, maybe just one instead of two!
13) Burrata with Grilled Grapes and Basil – p 43. So simple, yet absolutely perfect. I’ve never grilled grapes before and it amplifies them and concentrates their sweetness.
14) Soba Noodles with Lime, Cardamom, and Avocado – p 181. Everyone loved this. It looks like a total carb dish, but there’s enough herbs in it to count as another vegetable along with the avocado. It’s worth getting out the mortar and pestle for the cardamom. I usually use powdered cardamom if the pods aren’t getting cooked in the dish. I shouldn’t be, but I was surprised by how much more floral flavor you get from hand crushing them. My kids thought it was a different spice.
15) Slow-Cooked Chicken with A Crisp Corn Crust – p 236. Decadent comfort food. Don’t be fooled by its humble appearance. The corn topping is corn blended with butter, milk, and egg yolks, then folded into stiff egg whites. It has a soufflé like quality. The filling is even more tomato than chicken.
16) Bridget Jones’ Pan-Fried Salmo with Pine Nut Salsa – p 246. They mentioned this dish in the movie, and it didn’t exist yet. The Ottolenghi team decided to rectify that and create the dish. I had to give it a try just for laughs. Oh my gosh. This is an amazing salmon dish! It’s covered in sautéed celery and pine nuts, with currants, olives, capers, saffron, and lemon stirred in.
17) Hot, Charred Cherry Tomatoes with Cold Yogurt – p 70. This didn’t sound fantastic, but I had to make it because they chose it for the cover. Tomatoes roasted and blistered with garlic, herbs, and lemon peel over cold lemon zest dressed yogurt, spooned onto hot crusty sourdough. It’s almost too easy, but it’s a flavor explosion. I may have added even more garlic. Total keeper, especially with such a favorable flavor to effort ratio.
18-19) Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Dolcelatte – p 119. Wonderful fall vegetarian dinner. The tangy accents from the Gorgonzola are lovely against the earthy sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and red onions. Puy lentils are usually labeled as small French green lentils in the U.S.
Some others I have flagged to try: Braised Eggs with Leek and Za’atar – p 6 * Scrambled Harissa Tofu – p 13 * Cornbread with Cheddar, Feta, and Jalapeno – p 19 * Pea, Za’atar, and Feta Fritters – p 20 * Tomato and Cucumber Raita – p 30 * Broccolini with Soy Sauce, Garlic, and Peanuts – p 76 * Roasted Beets with Yogurt and Preserved Lemon – p 125 * Spinach and Gorgonzola-Stuffed Baked Potatoes – p 134 * Oven Fries with Oregano and Feta – p 138 * Sweet Potato Fries – p 145 * Pizza Bianca with Potato, Anchovy, and Sage – p 150 * Bulgar with Mushrooms and Feta – p 164 * Puy Lentils with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Yogurt – p 166 * Gigli with Chickpeas and Za’atar – p 191 * Gnocchi alla Romana – p 198 * Beef Sirloin and Basil Salad – p 205 * Coconut Crusted Fish Fingers – p 252 * Vanilla Custard with Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb – p 271 * Honey and Yogurt Set Cheesecake – p280 * Nutella, Sesame, and Hazelnut Rolls – p 286
*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.
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