On top of being a bibiliophile, the librarycook also nurses a not-so-secret passion for all foods Yotam. Ottolenghi, that is. First nurtured by his regular column in The Guardian*, then fired up by his charming television series Mediterranean on a Plate, and his delightful podcast Simple Pleasures**, the librarycook was beyond thrilled to see that October’s Delicious magazine had an extract from his new book.
And a generous extract it was too, in keeping with his ethos of food as a gift. Gigli with Chickpeas and Za’atar. Butterbean Mash with Muhammara. Soba Noodles with Lime, Cadamom and Avocado. Mint and Pistachio Fridge Cake. A Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake. Not just recipes, a cultural education too.
But it was the recipe for Bridget Jones’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa*** that spoke to the librarycook’s depths. A recipe with a literary allusion? How could the librarycook go past that? It even allowed her to overlook her usual requirement that a recipe must provide certain amount of reading time. No time for even the smallest haiku, this recipe was an eye-watering 15 minutes from go to whoa. But the speedy cooking time didn’t mean the result lacked flavour – not with the sweetness of currants, the savoury tastes of pine nuts and capers, the gentle spice notes of saffron, and the tang of lemon zest.
Was it a keeper? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!
*well worth following for the comments alone – who doesn’t enjoy a baffled English person plaintively asking where they’re expected to find such exotic ingredients as avocados?
**Yotam hosts a series of guests for lunch, as he cooks from his latest book, Ottolenghi Simple.
***Apparently, in the movie Bridget Jones’s Baby, Patrick Dempsey’s character tells her that this is the dish he would have brought her on their imaginary second date. “From Ottolenghi – delicious and healthy!” he says. But the recipe didn’t even exist – so Yotam has created it as a retrospective acknowledgement.