October 25, 2012
Tomato party and Green pancakes with lime butter
Page 131 and Page 150, Ottolenghi
The garden is still bursting with goodness this late in October (partly due to conscientious covering every time it is predicted to drop below 35 degrees) and I am happily working my way through Ottolenghi’s tomato chapter as our very-late and abundant harvest of three kinds of tomatoes continues unabated. We also have a kale forest, bunches of chard, and a whole new crop of fall beets coming in. Add the still-present herbs oregano, parsley, mint, and thyme, and it is a cooking paradise this fall!
Ottolenghi created Tomato party as a way to “make use of as many as possible of the infinite types of tomatoes available right now”, though he probably would not have guessed that “right now” would be late October for our household this year! This recipe uses the tomatoes in a variety of ways – patially roasted, lightly dried, and totally fresh. The combination creates layers of tomato flavor and we adored it. It was especially tasty as the acidic and fresh counterpoint to my other Ottolenghi dish, Green pancakes with lime butter. People, savory pancakes are one of the great joys in my life, and Ottolenghi has no less than FOUR different versions in Plenty. Oh, the joy! These light and lovely pancakes are stuffed full of spinach, green onions, and green chiles and are topped with a compound butter made with garlic, lime zest and juice, and chopped cilantro. Can I get a hells yes?!
¾ cup couscous
2/3 cup boiling water
1 cup fregola (or Israeli couscous)
3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
¾ teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons roughly chopped oregano
2 tablespoons roughly chopped tarragon
3 tablespoons roughly chopped mint
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small green tomato, cut into thin wedges
¾ cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil. Pour over the boiling water, stir, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside for 12 minutes, then remove the plastic wrap, separate the grains with a fork and leave to cool.
Place the fregola in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 18 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Leave to dry completely.
Meanwhile, spread the quartered vine tomatoes over half of a large baking pan and sprinkle with the sugar and some salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and some oil over the top. Place in the oven. After about 20 minutes remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees. On the empty side of the baking pan, spread the yellow tomatoes. Season them with salt and pepper and drizzle over some oil. Return to the oven and roast for 12 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and allow to cool down.
Mix together the couscous and fregola in a large bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, cooked tomatoes with all their juices, the green tomato and cherry tomatoes. Very gently mix together using your hands. Taste for seasoning: you might need to add salt, pepper, and some olive oil.
Green Pancakes with Lime Butter
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chile flakes
1/2 lb (about 8 cups) spinach, washed
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup milk
6 medium green onions, finely sliced
2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced
1 egg white
Olive oil for frying
To make the lime butter, place the butter in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it turns soft and creamy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Tip onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of the wrap to seal the flavoured butter. Chill until firm.
To make the pancakes, start by wilting the spinach in a pan with a splash of water, then drain in a sieve. When cool, squeeze the spinach to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and put aside.
Put the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the green onions, chiles and spinach and mix with a fork. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold it into the batter.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently. This should make smallish pancakes, about 3 inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they become a golden-green colour, then transfer to paper towels to keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding oil to the pan as needed, until the batter is used up.
To serve, layer three warm pancakes per person and place a slice of flavored butter on top to melt.