We’re weeks away from the beginning of the crazy-busy holiday season (hello, Butterball turkey), so planning a get together with friends should be easy breezy. How lucky, then, that star chef Yotam Ottolenghi (Jerusalem, Plenty) has just come out with a new book, Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking From London’s Ottolenghi ($21; amazon.com), filled with stylish, healthy fare that’s simple to whip up. Eight years ago Ottolenghi launched a vegi-renaissance with his weekly column for the Guardian—and since then, we’ve followed his sage advice and added sumac, Urfa chile flakes, and za-atar to our spice drawer and Sriracha and jars of preserved lemons to the pantry.
While in New York City on a book tour, we caught up with the handsome chef at the GH Institute where he told us about his new food obsessions, including dakos (Greek Cretan barley rusks) to snack on, harissa (a spicy Moroccan condiment), and sweet-and-savory black garlic.
He also helped us create a mezze menu for a winter party. “Mezze” comes from the Turkish word meze, and signifies a party of small-plate dishes served with drinks—a low-key casual cocktail party, the kind you want to throw on a Saturday night, before heading off to a movie with friends. Click through our slideshow to learn how to make Ottolenghi’s five suggestions (listed below)!
1. Tomato and Pomegranate Salad: a gloriously pretty dish with its mix of yellow, cherry, red, and ruby ingredients. 2. Zucchini Baba Ghanaoush: an appetizer usually made with eggplant. 3. Fava Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta: a healthy and hearty dish. 4. Quinoa and Wild Garlic Cakes with Salbitxada Sauce: The chicest finger food. 5. Finish with Apricot, Walnut, and Lavender Cake: You need a bit of sweet after all the veggies.
1. Tomato and Pomegranate SaladThis pretty-to-look-at, delicious-to-eat salad was inspired by a famous kebab restaurant named Hamdi, near the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, says Ottolenghi. Get the recipe here.
2. Zucchini Baba Ghanoush“Why don’t we broil zucchini more?” the British chef asks. “Getting some smokiness into the naturally bland flesh is a real revelation.” Get the recipe here.
3. Fava Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic RicottaThis Fava Bean Spread is the kind of dish that may replace guacamole as your go-to party dip. We love its citrusy underpinnings—lemon juice, strips of rind, and grated zest—as well as its hint of mint. Get the recipe here.
4. Quinoa and Wild Garlic Cakes with Salbitxada SauceThese yummy little bites hit all the right notes: quinoa makes it healthy, wild garlic, a bit trendy, and aged cheddar cheese gives it a satisfying richness. Get the recipe here.
5. Apricot, Walnut, and Lavender Cake“The combination of walnuts, apricots, and lavender is as French as a good baguette with butter and ripe Brie, and it is every bit as invincible,” says Ottolenghi. Get the recipe here.