The one, the only: Yotam Ottolenghi

If you are vegetarian and not familiar with Ottolenghi, then you really are missing out on the king of all things salad. Ottolenghi’s recipes make humble green leaves sing with joy thanks to his introduction of exotic flavours, herbs and spices. Fresh, clean flavours are key to his style of cooking and while the ingredients lists are often extensive, it is always worth going the extra effort.

Previous to cooking Ottolenghi recipes, I used herbs sparingly, held back on paprika, and had never heard of sumac or za’tar. But now he is a household name, such ingredients can be bought across the UK from larger supermarkets and most specialist food shops.

A big lesson I have learnt from Ottolenghi is to use herbs as a main ingredient. They shouldn’t be an afterthought or simply a garnish, but can add a rich depth of flavour to many dishes. Never again will a vegetarian meal be bland and tasteless!

Ottolenghi is not, however, a vegetarian chef. He cooks all manor of things including meat and fish. But what he has done for the vegetarian community is bring veg into the foreground of modern European cooking and if a celebrated TV chef can put vegetables centre stage, then he gets my backing!

Ottolenghi now has cafés/restaurants across London.

After writing the New Vegetarian for a few years at the Guardian, he has continued to publish his recipes on the website but has now also introduced meat and fish into the odd meal. However, there are still a vast number of vegetarian recipes to mull over and enjoy which can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/series/yotam-ottolenghi-recipes

….and the fantastic New Vegetarian series can still be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/series/thenewvegetarian

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