I got a beautiful new cookbook as an anniversary gift from my parents-in-law.  Ottolenghi is a trendy chef in London, and his recipes are innovative.  So innovative that I can’t tell on first read what the flavors will be like.  Of the 5 or so dishes I have tried, all prove to be delicious and surprising.  His theme (which is so common these days) is simple, fresh fare that utilizes the best possible ingredients.  He uses a heavy hand with fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and chilis, but he doesn’t go overboard insisting on local and seasonal, which is a breath of fresh air in these times.

What he may go overboard on is exactness.  The recipes are written in the European style, with weights instead of measures (grams and milliliters vs. tsp and cups).  This recipe, for instance, called for 115ml of olive oil.  Even armed with my fancy beaker measuring cup (with dL!) and digital kitchen scale, this can be a little tedious.  For Tim, who performed this recipe the first time, it was a lot tedious.  He said several times how he prefers to cook out of the Bittman cookbook I have (also from Linda – thanks!!), where the recipes offer a more free hand in the ingredients used.  So this is for Tim, Ottolenghi’s broccoli recipe, that transforms broccoli to something you will fantasize over, Bittman-ized.

I realize I am posting this close to Christmas and this recipe has none of the requisite seasonal ingredients: butter, sugar, or butter.  It is, however, red and green.  Festive enough for me.




Ottolenghi’s Broccoli, Bittmanized (adapted from Ottolenghi, the Cookbook)

For each serving, you need a medium-sized crown of broccoli, a couple cloves of garlic and a spicy red pepper.  Break the broccoli into spears, throw into boiling water briefly (2 min set-a-timer, says otto), blanch in ice water and drain (completely dry – no water, says otto).  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and sear on a piping hot grill pan for a couple minutes per side until charred in spots.  Meanwhile, slice peppers and garlic.  Heat in a sauce pan with a generous amount of oil, you are essentially making chili-garlic oil.  When the garlic has browned and softened, toss with the broccoli, season to taste and serve with paper thin slices of lemon.  Eat at least one bite with a lemon slice, chili, garlic and broccoli, and tell me you aren’t totally transformed.