For Cookbook Club this month, we’re cooking Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi. I love Ottolenghi… he’s one of my favorite chefs to follow on social media and I find his recipes universally delicious! I was introduced to him several years back when my sister gave me the cookbook Jerusalem that he co-authored with Sami Tamimi. It remains one of my favorite cookbooks. The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes are wonderful. While most of Ottolenghi recipes fall squarely into my comfort zone (mmmm… Middle Eastern food!), Plenty is a little bit outside it. The entire cookbook is vegetable-based! We love veggies here, but it’s rare that we eat truly vegetarian – especially our main dishes. I’m looking forward to embracing the challenge!
This first recipe caught my eye right off the bat, because the combination of ingredients seemed so unique to me. Who ever heard of combining mango and eggplant?? But as a thought about it, I figured it would probably be delicious. So here we are. And I was right – it IS a delicious combo. The dressing and the mango are sweet & sour, the eggplant is earthy, and the pepper and onions give it just a little bite! It’s also very easy to make – definitely doable on a weeknight or for a lunch.
Eggplant & Mango Soba Noodles
(Adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp
- 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, zested & juiced
- 1 cup oil (for frying)
- 1/2 of a large eggplant, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 4 oz soba noodles
- 1 mango, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Warm the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small pot, just for a minute or two, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the Aleppo pepper, garlic, and sesame oil.
- Once cool, add the onions, lime zest, and juice from about 1/2 the lime. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a tall-sided pan. Shallow fry the eggplant pieces in batches, removing when golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes. Place in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and allow them to drain off excess oil and water.
- Meanwhile cook the soba noodles in a pot of salted water, for 6-8 minutes, until al dente. Once cooked, rinse under cold running water.
- Once all the ingredients are cooled and dried, combine everything (dressing, eggplant, noodles, mango, and herbs) in a large bowl. Toss well. Serve cool.
I love pretty much any and all Asian foods and flavors. Thai-style curries are among my favorites. But disclaimer… I threw together this recipe myself. And as an average American with European mutt ancestry, I make no claims about authenticity of any sort.
But with that being said, I think this turned out really well. I think the sweet and spicy flavors balanced each other out nicely. Don’t be put off by the thought of fruit and vegetables together in a curry. It works, I promise.
Selim’s Take: Since I had absolutely no part in this recipe, and since Ally wasn’t following any recipe, I may or may not have been slightly nervous as to the finished product. When she makes something by herself, she kicks me out of the kitchen completely; I’m not even allowed to get something to drink or a snack out of the refrigerator. Ally likes to keep the ingredients a secret, because I’m really good at figuring out what she’s making just by knowing a few of the ingredients. My nose was in for a treat this time… the house smelled delicious from all the aromatic garlic, onions, curry paste, paprika, and mango. At one point, I thought I smelled maple syrup, but it was just the coconut and mango mix cooking down. Like I said, the smells coming from the kitchen filled the house, sweet and spicy, definitely building the hype for this concoction. The finished product didn’t disappoint either. I could definitely taste all the flavors, sweetness of the mango, corn, and coconut milk, the spicy curry, and a touch of umami from the fish sauce. I would like to add that you could throw in a bit of chicken, tofu, or some beans to the dish for a little extra protein.
Mango Coconut Veggie Curry
- 2 tsp oil (we like to cook with safflower oil, but use whatever you prefer)
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 of a jalapeno, finely chopped
- 2 ripe mangoes
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 3 tbsp red Thai curry paste
- 1/4 cup of vegetable stock
- 1 tsp paprika
- 20 baby carrots, sliced
- 3 ears of corn, kernels sliced off
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 cup of rice
- Lime wedges
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Allow to saute for 5+ minutes. Then add the jalapeno and saute another 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice mango flesh away from the pit. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine the coconut milk and mango. Blend until the combo is smooth.
- Once the onions and garlic have softened and become fragrant, add the curry paste to the pan. Stir so the paste combines with the oil. Allow to continue to saute another 5 minutes.
- Next, add the mango-coconut mixture, stock, paprika, soy sauce, and fish sauce to the pan. Stir to combine. Allow to come to a soft simmer.
- Once sauce is simmering, add the carrots. Continue at a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the corn and cook for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook rice per directions.
- Serve rice in bowl, cover with vegetables and sauce, and squeeze a lime wedge over top.
Makes 4 large servings.
This was an easily thrown together dinner from the other night. We almost always have salmon in the fridge and wanted to try something a little different to go with it. So basically, we looked at our fridge and fruit bowl, mixed a few ingredients together, and ended up with an awesome, repeat-worthy dinner!
The “salsa” could easily be modified to include whatever fruits you wanted. The fruits are so sweet and flavorful on their own that they barely need anything else.
Ancho Chili Salmon with Sweet Summer Salsa
- 1 champagne mango
- 1 peach
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 of a medium sized yellow onion
- Juice from 1 small lime
- Salt & pepper
- 2 salmon fillets (approximately 5-6oz each)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp Ancho chili powder
- Remove salmon from refrigerator. You want it to be room temperature before cooking it.
- Chop fruit and vegetables. Dice the onion finely, but the others should be chopped in slightly bigger chunks. Toss with lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Mix all of the salmon spices in a small bowl. Heavily season the top of the two fillets.
- Set the oven to broil (low broil if your oven does that). Once hot, place the salmon fillets on foil and put in the oven directly on the top rack. Broil for approximately 10 minutes (may need less or more time depending on size of salmon fillets). Close oven door, but watch closely through the window so fish doesn’t burn.
- Serve salmon over top of the salsa.
Makes 2 servings.