October 20, 2021

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Food never sleeps

From Turkish lamb to corn dogs: Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for holiday food | Food

6 min read

The thing about holiday food and drink is that it’s best consumed on holiday. For all the joy of, say, apple tea, limoncello and Greek salad, they all make most sense when enjoyed in Turkey, Italy or Greece. Since most of us won’t get to experience such holiday food this summer, then, let’s bring the holiday food to us instead. Who says you need to be at a street food stall overseas to enjoy a battered frankfurter eaten off a hand-held stick?

Corn dogs (pictured top)

This quintessential carnival food is traditionally made with frankfurters, but you could also use chipolatas or merguez. If you do so, however, make sure the sausages are not too thick and cooked in advance. These quantities will make slightly more batter than is required here, but you need so much to coat the sausages properly; use up any excess batter to make hush puppies – carefully drop small spoonfuls into the remaining hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes until golden.

Prep 20 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

100g polenta
75g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp aleppo
chilli (or ¼ tsp regular chilli flakes)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander seeds
, roughly crushed
1½ tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3⅓ tbsp
(10g) finely chopped chives
200g plain kefir (or plain natural yoghurt )
1 egg
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp unsalted butter
, melted
1½ litres vegetable oil, for frying
6 good-quality frankfurters, cut in half to make 12 mini sausages (or 12 cooked chipolatas)
2 tbsp cornflour
12 wooden skewers or lollipop sticks
(snapped in half if very long, in which case use just 6)
Hot sauce or condiment of choice, to serve

Whisk the first 10 ingredients in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the kefir, egg, honey and melted butter, then pour into the cornmeal mixture and whisk thoroughly to combine – the batter should be quite thick. Pour into a tall, narrow jar or glass (this choice of vessel will ensure the sausages get fully immersed in the batter when dipped in) and set aside.

Pour the vegetable oil into a medium saucepan and, on a medium-high heat, and bring up to 170C. Have ready a cooling rack or a tray lined with kitchen roll, and a heat-resistant slotted spoon or a pair of tongs.

Thoroughly dry the sausages with kitchen roll (if using cooked chipolatas or merguez, wipe off any excess oil). Put the cornflour on a small plate, roll the sausages around in it until evenly coated, then shake off any excess. Insert a skewer into one end of each sausage, and push it up halfway inside the sausage until secure.

Take a sausage and, holding it at the skewer end, dip it in the batter – it helps to tilt the jar or glass a bit, and to swirl the sausages around to make sure they’re evenly coated. Holding the skewer at an angle, carefully lower it into the hot oil. Repeat, then cook the sausages three or four at a time and turning them frequently for four minutes, until a deep golden brown, and place on the rack or tray to drain. Repeat with the rest of the sausages and serve warm with your hot sauce or condiment of choice.

Grilled lamb chops with ezme, yoghurt and cumin salt

Yotam Ottolenghi’s grilled lamb chops with ezme, yoghurt and cumin salt.

Ezme is a staple of Turkish cuisine, and it has everything you’d want from a condiment for grilled meat. This version is inspired by Esra Muslu, who used to head up one of the Ottolenghi delis. If you don’t have a griddle pan, cook the lamb chops under a grill turned up to its highest setting.

Prep 15 min
Marinate 3 hr+
Cook 35 min
Serves 6

For the lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
2 lemons, 1 juiced, to get 1½ tbsp, the other cut into quarters
Salt
1kg lamb chops

For the cumin salt
1½ tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
½ tsp flaked sea salt
1 tsp sumac

For the ezme
2 banana shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthways (100g net)
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 red chillies (110g)
6 plum tomatoes (600g)
60ml olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
2½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
20g walnuts
, toasted and finely chopped
25g mint leaves, finely chopped
20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
200g Greek-style yoghurt

First, marinate the lamb. In a large bowl, mix the oil, garlic, a tablespoon and a half of lemon juice and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Add the lamb, toss to coat, then cover, refrigerate and leave to marinate for at least three hours.

For the cumin salt, roughly crush the cumin in a mortar, then stir in the flaked salt and sumac. Very lightly crush the mix again, then transfer to a small bowl.

Place a griddle pan on a high heat. While it’s warming up, prepare the vegetables for the ezme. In a large bowl, mix the shallots, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and a tablespoon of the oil. Once the griddle is hot, grill the vegetables in two or more batches, using tongs to turn them as necessary: give the shallots about two minutes on each side, until softened and charred; grill the chilli and garlic for about five minutes, turning often, until the skins are blistered and blackened all over; and grill the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until softened and blistered. Once cooked, lift the vegetables on to a board and leave to cool.

Once the grilled vegetables are cool, peel off and discard the chilli, garlic and tomato skins, then finely chop all the vegetables and put in a medium bowl. Stir in a half-teaspoon of salt and all the remaining ingredients for the ezme bar the yoghurt, then set aside.

Return the griddle pan to a high heat and, once hot, grill the lamb chops for three or four minutes on each side, until they’re cooked through and have nice char marks on both sides (this will cook the chops to medium, so give them more or less time on the griddle, depending on how you like your lamb).

To serve, spoon half the yoghurt over a large platter, spread it out evenly with the back of the spoon, then make a well in the centre. Spoon half the ezme into the well, arrange the chops neatly on top, then sprinkle over half the cumin salt. Serve hot with the remaining yoghurt, ezme and cumin salt in separate bowls alongside.

Grilled corn with tahini and soy butter and gomashio

Yotam Ottolenghi’s grilled corn with tahini and soy butter and gomashio.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s grilled corn with tahini and soy butter and gomashio.

Make double the amount of butter and save the excess in the fridge to slather over grilled or roast vegetables, fish and meat.

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 8

For the corn
8 corn cobs, ideally with the husks attached
Salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the tahini and soy butter
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 limes
– 1 squeezed, to get 1 tbsp juice, the other cut into quarters
1 tsp maple syrup

For the gomashio
3 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted
1 ½ tbsp nori flakes
1 tsp coriander seeds
, toasted
1 tsp chilli flakes

For the corn, put three litres of water and two tablespoons of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Working in batches, plunge the corn cobs into the boiling water, making sure they’re submerged, and cook for about three minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a large colander set over a bowl, leave to drain and repeat with the remaining corn.

Put a griddle pan on a high heat, or turn the oven grill to high. Pat dry the corn cobs, if necessary, brush all over with the vegetable oil and grill for about 10 minutes, turning often, so they get clear char marks on all sides.

Meanwhile, make the butter by mixing all the ingredients except the lime quarters in a small bowl.

Roughly bash all the ingredients for the gomashio in a mortar, so the seeds are mostly broken but not powdery (or pulse them a few times in a spice grinder).

Arrange the hot griddled corn on a platter and spread half the butter all over the top. Sprinkle over half the gomashio and serve with more butter and the remaining gomashio in separate bowls on the side.

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