Ottolenghi’s 2011 book Plenty was an exciting and exuberant take on vegetarian cooking, and with this title the London chef is back with business partner Tamimi, exploring the melting-pot (or is it bubbling-over-pot?) foods of the city in which both were born. Ottolenghi was from the Jewish side of town, Tamimi from the Muslim side, and “the flavors and smells of this city are our mother tongue.”
Well, everyone should speak the language of their Pistachio Soup: Flavored with saffron and a refreshing orange juice spritz at the finish, it’s creamy, tangy, spice-fragrant, and surprising. Or Burnt Eggplant with Garlic, Lemon, and Pomegranate Seeds—a baba ghanoush-type dish with the brilliant pop of juicy pomegranate seeds. For something a little less exotic, there’s Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice, a lovely one-pot dinner that steps up boring chicken and rice with fragrant spices and sweet currants. Food photos—there are lots of them—are vibrant, beautiful, and exciting, making this a book for perusing as much as for utility.
GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who like bold, cultural mash-up cuisines. —Scott Mowbray