Whether you’re flipping through one of his coveted cookbooks or seated at one of his London restaurants, if you’re eating with Ottolenghi you can be sure it will be a meal to remember. With his naturally-sourced, Mediterranean-bent food, Chef Yotam Ottolenghi has had foodies around the world aflutter with his simple, fresh, ingredient-driven dishes. For over a decade his namesake London restaurants have been a must-stop for foodie travelers, and his cookbooks, Plenty, Ottolenghi, and Jerusalem have all become kitchen shelf staples for every self-respecting home chef we know.
This fall, Yotam and his partner Sami are releasing Ottolenghi The Cookbook in it’s American version for the first time. No doubt, long-time lovers of these classic recipes will be relieved to cut the translations out of their cooking process and those who are new to the book will mark up far fewer notes in the margins!
This roasted Portobello recipe is straight from the cookbook’s pages – and while it may be in American English, the ingredients are no less exotic. Have fun hunting for ingredients like preserved lemon and basil sprouts or take the challenge and learn to make them on your own!
This is another of Scully’s [Ramael Scully, Ottolenghi head chef] creations. The mushrooms are cooked with lots of butter and herbs and then served warm with the most soothing topping. You can prepare the mushrooms and barley ahead of time, then heat them up and add the lemon, feta, and herbs at the last minute. You can find preserved lemons at a local specialty shop or online site specializing in North African food.
Portobello mushrooms with pearled barley and preserved lemon
Serves 6, as a starter
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
heaping ½ cup pearled barley
¼ preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin finely chopped
1¾ oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tsp thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
15 sprigs thyme
6 large portobello mushrooms
¾ cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp purple basil sprouts, radish sprouts, or purple basil leaves, shredded
1 Tbsp olive oil
First cook the barley. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the barley, lower the heat, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Take a large baking sheet and grease it heavily with two-thirds of the butter. Scatter the thyme sprigs over it. Stem the mushrooms and place the mushroom caps, stem side up, on top of the thyme. Pour over the wine and stock and scatter the sliced garlic over. Dot each mushroom with a couple of knobs of the remaining butter, then season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Leave them in their cooking juices until you are ready to serve.
When the barley is done, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the preserved lemon, feta, parsley, and thyme. Taste and add salt and pepper. To serve, reheat the mushrooms in the oven for a few minutes, if necessary. Place each mushroom, stem side up, on a serving plate. Scoop the barley on top and spoon some of the mushroom cooking juices over. Garnish with the basil sprouts and drizzle over the olive oil.
Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.