Yotam Ottolenghi. Picture: Yotam Ottolenghi/Instagram
Yotam Ottolenghi. Picture: Yotam Ottolenghi/Instagram

By all reports, Yotam Ottolenghi made the masses fall in love with many incarnations of roasted aubergine. The Israeli-British chef, restaurant owner and food writer has, through his half-dozen cookbooks, garnered an almost evangelical following, introducing home cooks to Middle Eastern ingredients they’ve never heard of, and flavours they wouldn’t naturally have thought to pair.

Still, even the staunchest Ottolenghi devotee would admit that while the result is always spectacularly more-ish, a reconnaissance mission to locate pomegranate molasses, Urfa chilli flakes or black garlic isn’t always convenient.

His latest book, Ottolenghi Simple, aims for, well, simplicity.

Simple does, of course, mean different things to different people and so the recipes are marked with letters from the word. In this case, they stand for: S — short on time, I— 10 or fewer ingredients, M — for make-ahead meals, P — the sort of recipes you cook from pantry staples, L — lazy dishes like stews and soups that cook themselves, and E — easier than you think, dishes that seem cheffy and complicated but are in fact a cinch.

While easy does do it (particularly on a Tuesday evening FM deadline, after a long slog at the office) there’s a certain set of expectations when people think of an Ottolenghi recipe. Undemanding as it may be, the book is not short of audacious flavours or inventiveness.

Simple is just Ottolenghi for everyone — even on a Tuesday.

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi, Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth

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