First post back after an extended Christmas New Year break and I’m slowly and rather reluctantly easing myself back into a 5-2 fast day routine. It’s alarming how quickly two weeks of unfettered feasting and convivial bonhomie can suddenly feel like the norm. And even more confronting how difficult it is to find my blogging mojo after a two week hiatus. It’s summer, the sun is shining and beach beckoning with a stack of holiday reads to get through. Bright idea number one. Write a post whilst idly wiling away time at the beach. Really? That was doomed from the very start.
Ever since its release I have been coveting Yotam Ottolenghi’s new offering, Plenty More. There’s a definite thrill in acquiring a new cookbook. Yes my shelves are groaning, even warping under their weight, but I just can’t bear to part with any of these dear and constant friends. There’s a story behind most of them. Nothing beats the very first browse through, scanning for that elusive recipe that draws my eye again and again, so much so that I instantly know that it will inevitably become a new firm favourite in my repertoire. For me browsing recipes online is not quite the same. I like to feel the heft of a tome in my hands as I flick backwards and forwards through the pages. I love to annotate and am not too precious to leave dog eared pages in my wake.
From this perspective Ottolenghi’s cookbooks never disappoint. The shining star this time round was a gorgeous tomato and roasted lemon salad (page 66). I’ve made it several times already, falling in love with it immediately and even serving it alongside lamb back straps and flattened barbecued chicken at a New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s delicious and effortless to throw together, making the most of our seasonal summer produce. Best of all it’s so very easily adaptable as a 5-2 fast day meal idea. One vibrant platter serves two at just 287 calories per serve. I like to think of it as feasting while fasting. Till next time adieu.
Ottolenghi’s Tomato, Pomegranate And Roasted Lemon Salad
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More
Serves 2 (287 calories per serve)
Pomegranate Molasses is tart and sweet and available from good delicatessens and providores, and not too difficult to source. A fair substitute would be a thick, syrup-y aged balsamic vinegar.
500g mixed small tomatoes (I used cherry heirloom), halved (90 calories)
1 cup pomegranate arils (seeds from 1 medium sized pomegranate) (144 calories)
½ small red onion, very finely sliced (15 calories)
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems (6 calories)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large (6 calories)
1 lemon, halved lengthwise, pips removed and thinly sliced (12 calories)
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh sage leaves (2 calories)
1 teaspoon sugar (16 calories)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (240 calories)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (40 calories)
½ teaspoon ground allspice (3 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
TO PREPARE ROASTED LEMON, preheat oven to 170 C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
BRING a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add lemon slices and blanch for 2 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain and pat dry.
GENTLY toss lemon slices with one tablespoon oil, sage, sugar, and a liberal sprinkling of salt in a bowl. Spread out in a single layer on prepared oven tray.
BAKE in hot oven until lemons are no longer wet and only slightly colored, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
TO ASSEMBLE SALAD, whisk together pomegranate molasses, allspice, and remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
ADD roasted lemons, tomatoes, onion, parsley and mint. Toss gently to combine. Check seasoning before transferring to a platter to serve.