Welcome to the ThoughtBox Food Issue, always the second Monday of each month!
I’ll be sharing recipes, cookbook recommendations, nutrition tips, and more. Let me know if you’d like to know about a subject around food and nutrition and I’ll put it on the list for a future issue. Looking forward to hearing from you!
A year after the book was published, Samin Nosrat, the engaging writer, cook, and educator made me and “everyone fall in love with her” in the Netflix series of the same name, a travelogue and exploration of cooking all over the world. Here’s the trailer.
In a wonderful, very personal interview in The New Yorker in 2020 she shared that she “fails almost every day”, a message that resonates for me and I hope for all of you – even a famous author acknowledging that failure is part of the journey to success.
Samin Nosrat is a colleague and friend of “powerhouse author and chef” Yotam Ottolenghi. His cookbook Ottolenghi Simple, was selected as a “best book of the year” by NPR, among other accolades. He has a weekly column in The Guardian, and co-owns several restaurants in London.
Samin has teamed up with Yotam Ottolenghi in interviews and speaking engagements, and they admire one another, and enjoy sharing recipes. So this month’s recipe is from Chef Ottolenghi. Here he talks about the inspiration from his test kitchen.
The recipe of the month: A butter bean salad perfect for spring.
“This is the kind of mezze you’d want to serve at the first sign of spring, when the days are a little brighter, the air a little lighter and the cooler temperatures are finally behind us (we made it!). Of course, it’s delicious all year round. This dish is all about the layering of crunchy dukkah over tender butter beans with peas and herbs coated in a creamy, garlicky yogurt dressing for the perfect bite. Serve with crisp lettuce, or bread if you like, as a light lunch or as part of a mezze spread.”
FOR THE DUKKAH (you can buy dukkah here)
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds
- ⅓ cup/40 grams unsalted and roasted shelled pistachios
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE BEANS:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ cup/110 grams plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Fine sea salt and black pepper
- 2 (15.5-ounce) cans or 1 (700-gram) jar butter beans, rinsed and drained (3 cups/550 grams)
- ⅔ cup/90 grams frozen peas, thawed
- ¼ cup loosely packed/5 grams fresh picked dill
- ¼ cup loosely packed/5 grams fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup/80 grams coarsely crumbled feta
- Start the dukkah: In a small pan set over medium heat, toast the coriander and cumin, shaking the pan occasionally, until the seeds are a shade darker and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer spices to a small bowl and repeat with the sesame seeds, toasting for 30 to 60 seconds. Add the sesame seeds to the same bowl to cool.
- While the seeds cool, start the beans by making turmeric oil: Add 1½ tablespoons oil to the pan used for the seeds. Heat over medium until visibly hot (shimmering and wavy) but not smoking, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the turmeric and set aside to infuse and cool completely.
- While the turmeric oil cools, finish the dukkah: Add the pistachios, oregano, mint, salt and the cooled seeds to a food processor, using the smaller bowl insert if you have one. Pulse a few times until you have a rough crumble with larger pistachio pieces. Return to the small bowl.
- Finish the beans: In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the butter beans and use a spatula to gently coat in the yogurt dressing, being careful to not break apart the beans.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the peas, dill, mint and remaining 1½ teaspoons oil with ⅛ teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper.
- Transfer the butter bean mixture to a large plate with a lip and top with the feta, followed by the pea mixture, the turmeric oil and a generous sprinkling of the dukkah. Serve the remaining dukkah to eat alongside.
As always, I’ll love to know your thoughts!