After the excesses of Easter, I am on day two of my eat myself better and happier regime.
Quoting the guy from the Fast Show, “Today I will be mostly eating raw fruit and vegetables.” However, I know that this will not suffice so I’m also having a hot meal this evening.
I have chosen another Yotam Ottolenghi recipe because I think he is brilliant and makes really exciting vegetarian food. This one also incorporates asparagus, good for stimulating the kidneys, and courgette, which is high in vitamin A and C and a great source of potassium.
I didn’t find any manouri so I have substituted it with halloumi cheese which is really delicious and available in most supermarkets and ethnic food stores. Just slice it 6mm thick and dust with a little flour seasoned with black pepper, before frying as instructed. This recipe serves four to six.
So I don’t feel deprived, I am also having Sunflower Pate on spelt bread as a side; you can find my recipe for spelt bread here.
Ottolenghi char-grilled asparagus, courgettes and manouri
- 350g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 140ml olive oil
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper
- 24 asparagus spears
- 2 courgettes
- 200g manouri cheese, sliced 2cm thick (or halloumi cheese)
- 25g rocket
For the basil oil:
- 75ml olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 25g basil leaves
- A pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas mark 3. Mix the tomatoes with three tablespoons of oil and season. spread them out, skin-side down, on a baking tray lined with parchment, and roast for 50 minutes, until semi-dried. Set aside to cool.
- Trim the woody bases off the asparagus and blanch in boiling water for four minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water until all vestiges of heat have gone, drain, then transfer to a bowl and toss with two tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper.
- Slice the courgettes very thinly lengthwise (a mandolin would be very useful for this job, otherwise use a vegetable peeler) and mix with a tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper.
- Place a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and leave for a few minutes until very hot. grill the courgettes and asparagus, turning after a minute – you want nice char marks on all sides. remove and leave to cool.
- Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the manouri for three minutes a side, until golden. drain on kitchen paper. (or char-grill the cheese on the griddle for two minutes a side.)
- To make the basil oil, blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Arrange the rocket, vegetables and cheese in layers on a flat serving plate – build up the salad while showing all the individual components. Drizzle with as much basil oil as you like (save the rest for another dish) and serve.
- 1 cup soaked sunflower seeds
- 8-10 sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ tbsp oil-soaked chopped garlic
- Small bunch of basil
Simply mix all the ingredients together with a hand blender or food processor.