I have become mildly obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi. Okay, let me just be honest: I have a big-time crush. Yotam has a cooking column in The Guardian and his dishes always look incredible. You can imagine, then, how happy I was when Yana,(She Cooks With Books), invited us over for dinner...and her Bible for the evening? The eponymous Ottolenghi. Big happy smiles.
Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli ex-pat, moved to London from his hometown of West Jerusalem. His partner, Sami Tamimi, is Palestinian from East Jerusalem. And their bond? Food. Folks, this is my kind of partnership. Their dishes have a range of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences -- they use sumac, za'atar, pistachio, rosewater, cumin and lots of regional herbs.
For our winter (birthday) feast Yana's made a lentil, red onion and chard soup; roasted butternut squash with pomegranate molasses; cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yogurt; and for the omnivores of the bunch, roasted chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey. It was all mighty good. We had three desserts: meringues with pistachio and rosewater, swedish chocolate balls with coconut (see this post) and I made a pumpkin-chocolate-chip loaf...which was moister than moist! It was a wonderful meal and I have decided to make the fritters for dinner tonight.
Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt (Courtesy of Ottolenghi)
1 small cauliflower
120 grams (1 cup) plain flour
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus a few extra leaves to garnish
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 free-range eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
500 ml sunflower oil for frying (I just lightly coated the pan)
300 grams Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
grated zest of one lime
2 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
- Put all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Taste- looking for a vibrant, tart, citrusy flavor-- and adjust the seasoning. Chill or leave out for up to one hour.
- To prepare the cauliflower, trim off any leaves and use a small knife to divide the cauliflower into little florets. Add the to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 15 minutes or until very soft. Drain into a colander.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, put the flour, chopped parsley, garlic, shallots, eggs, spices, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together well to make a batter. When the mixture is smooth and homogeneous, add the warm cauliflower. mix to break down the cauliflower into the batter.
- Pour the sunflower oil into a wide pan to a depth of 1.5 cm and heat up. (I didn't use that much oil. I just put enough to thinly coat the pan.) When it is very hot, carefully spoon in generous portions of the cauliflower mixture, 3 tablespoons per fritter. Take care with the hot oil. Space the fritters apart and don't overcrowd the pan. Fry in small batches, controlling the oil temperature so that the fritters don't burn. They should take 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Remove from the pan and drain well on a few layers of kitchen paper.
- Serve with the sauce on the side.