Friday, June 24

Mint, Cherry and Black Rice Watermelon, Crispy Shallot Wakame: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Refreshing Summer Salads | Food

TThe link between eating large chunks of sweet watermelon and summer is, for me, strong. When I was a kid, I used to eat it by the sea before jumping into the water to clean the juices from my chin and chest. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to repeat the trick by the sea this year, but I’ll definitely keep eating big chunks of watermelon and delight in trying to catch the juices from this summery fruit.

Roast cherry salad and black rice (above in the photo)

Cherries are wonderful this time of year, and roasting them is a great way to bring out their sweet, spicy, and nutty notes that pair perfectly with black rice. It’s worth investing in a bottle of white balsamic vinegar for this, it pairs really well with any toasted summer fruit, although sherry or muscat vinegar would work just as well, if needed. And if you like, swap the black rice for black barley, if you can find it, and cook it according to the directions on the package.

Homework 30 minutes
Immerse 1 hour
Cook 1 hour 10 minutes
It serves 4 as side

100 g black rice
Salt and black pepper
500g fresh cherries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
(or sherry or muscat vinegar)
40g parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus 1 extra handful of leaves to serve
3⅓ tablespoons (5 g) mint leaves, finely chopped, plus an extra handful for serving
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
20 g of shelled walnuts
, lightly toasted and chopped
40g pecorino, finely shaved

For the dressing
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice

⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

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Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan) / 425F / gas 7. Put the rice in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 35 minutes. Add a quarter teaspoon of salt, cook for an additional five minutes, until the rice is cooked but still has a slight bite, then drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, wash and pit the cherries, then cut them in half lengthwise. Place the halved cherries in a large baking dish (approximately 13 “x 8”) with the oil, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, spray immediately with the vinegar, stir gently, taking care not to break the cherries, and let cool.

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor, add 50g of the cooled roasted cherries and a good pinch of salt and pepper, then mash until smooth.

Place half of the remaining roasted cherries and half of their cooking juices in the bowl with the rice, add the parsley, mint, and half of the dressing, and toss gently to combine. Pour this into a large bowl and top with the remaining cherries and cooking juices. Drizzle the remaining dressing and lemon juice, then sprinkle over the walnuts, half the pecorino, and the collected leaves, and serve with the extra pecorino on the side.

Watermelon with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and mint sugar

Yotam Ottolenghi's watermelon with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and mint sugar.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s watermelon with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and mint sugar.

Red watermelon looks and tastes great here, but any other ripe melon with green or orange flesh will work great too. Serve as part of a summer dessert or at the end of a meal.

Homework 15 minutes
To assemble 10 minutes
It serves 6

2 kg of cold watermelon in the refrigerator (ie ½ large watermelon)
50 g pecorino (or parmesan), shaved with a vegetable peeler
1½ tablespoon pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil, to drizzle

For the dressing
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 ½ tablespoon lime juice
Sea salt flakes

For the mint sugar
25g mint, leaves collected to obtain 15g (or about 10 tablespoons), then finely chopped
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon of aleppo chili
(or chili flakes)

With a sharp knife, carefully slice and discard the watermelon skin and white pith – you should end up with about 1½ kg of meat. Cut the watermelon into 1½ cm wide wedges, then place in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Mix all dressing ingredients with one-eighth teaspoon flaked sea salt and set aside.

Put all the ingredients for the peppermint sugar in a small bowl with one-eighth teaspoon of flake salt, then rub with your fingertips until everything is combined.

To assemble, drizzle the dressing over the watermelon, then sprinkle over the pecorino shavings, pumpkin seeds, and olive oil. Sprinkle the mint sugar on top and serve.

Wakame and baby cucumber with shallot and crispy coriander seeds

Yotam Ottolenghi's wakame and baby cucumber with crispy shallot and coriander seeds.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s wakame and baby cucumber with crispy shallot and coriander seeds.

Replace the wakame for any other seaweed you like or have on hand. And keep the shallot and crunchy coriander in mind for other dishes – it works great in all kinds of noodle and rice dishes.

Homework 20 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
It serves 4

For the crispy coriander and shallot seeds
75 ml olive oil
2 shallots (100g), peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
5 g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
¾ teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
, slightly flattened
30g dry wakame, soaked in cold water
5 tender cucumbers (200 g), or 1 regular cucumber, with the seeds removed and the pulp cut into ½ cm wide slices

For the dressing
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1½ teaspoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons lime juice

To serve
1 teaspoon sesame oil
10 g of coriander leaves, collected

Replace the wakame for any other seaweed you like or have on hand. And keep the shallot and crunchy coriander in mind for other dishes – it works great in all kinds of noodle and rice dishes.

Put the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and, once hot, add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until everything is lightly browned and crisp, then remove from heat, add the sugar, chili flakes, and coriander seeds, mix well, and cool.

Drain the soaked wakame through a colander, squeeze out as much water as possible, and then put it in a large bowl. Place the cucumber slices in the same colander, place over a bowl, add an eighth teaspoon of salt, stir to coat, and let it rest for at least five minutes.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then pour over the drained seaweed. Add the cucumber to the bowl, toss to coat, and then transfer to a lipped platter or large plate. Drizzle the last teaspoon of the sesame oil on top, sprinkle over the coriander leaves and half of the shallot and crunchy cilantro, then serve with the rest of the crunch on the side.

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