Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty is a Vegetarian Delight of a Cookbook
Selling a bounty of Mediterranean-inspired salads and delicious baked goods like muffins and meringues, London's Ottolenghi restaurants have garnered a cult following for fast, fresh, tasty food. Its chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, put out a cookbook of the restaurant's greatest hits a while back, but has now followed up with Plenty, based off his "New Vegetarian" column for the Guardian. And boy is it a beauty.
Plenty of tasty recipes
This spring is a big season for healthful cookbooks, with Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day and Marie Simmons's Fresh & Fast Vegetarian, as well as the forthcoming Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck. Move over, Moosewood. Vegetarian-inspired cooking is taking over. And (at least as this book proved) even carnivores will be happy.
With more than 120 recipes, Plenty is organized by vegetable: Roots, Funky Onions, Mushrooms, Zucchini and Other Squashes, Peppers, Brassicas, the Mighty Eggplant, Tomatoes, Leaves, Green Things, Green Beans, Pulses, Grains, Pasta Polenta and Couscous, and Fruit With Cheese. While primarily Mediterranean-based, the book's recipes reach as far as Asia and Mexico, often adapting old meaty favorites to be vegetarian. However, because the recipes aren't divided into appetizers and entrées, it's somewhat challenging in terms of planning full meals. Another slight annoyance for some home cooks might be the use of certain esoteric ingredients like sumac or lovage, and the use of multiple fresh herbs for each recipe (great if you have a garden, but herb shopping adds up at the store). But these are minor complaints, and if you live in New York City, everything would be accessible.