Friday, April 5, 2013

IHCC: Shalom Yotam Ottolenghi!!

This week, we have our first I Heart Cooking Clubs outing with Yotam Ottlenghi. Each week we'll be cooking an Ottlenghi dish with a suggested theme. Come along and join in the fun!

Santa brought me Ottolenghi: The Cookbook after I asked at cookbooker which of his three books I should get—this was was the unanimous choice. I've made a dash through the book now, marking very many pages with stickies. For this week's welcome, I chose Buttered Prawns with Tomato, Olives, and Arak (p150). This is recommended as a starter for four, but I served it as the main dish for two along with some polenta. The dish is quite simple to make, just a bit of preparation and about 5 minutes of cooking.

To prepare:
  • Four plum tomatoes should be peeled, cut into wedges, and set aside with some chili flakes and kalamata olives. Plum tomatoes are not in season yet so I used some vine tomatoes that have been in the shops and pretty good in the last weeks. 
  • Measure out 20 milliliters (a short tablespoon and a half) of Arak. Okay, no Arak around here, but there is some pastis (Ricard, not Pernod) in the fridge wanting to be used up.
  • Three very thinly sliced cloves of garlic get set aside with some chopped flat parsley, a pinch of salt, and 30g (about 2 tablespoons) of butter. (I didn't use the full amount of this butter, since the dish seemed plenty rich already.)
To cook, heat a frying pan, then add 20g (a short tablespoon and a half) of butter. When this melts, add the shrimp and sauté briskly for about 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, chili flakes, and olives; continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Carefully add the liquor and stir till it evaporates. Stir in the garlic, parsley, salt, and extra butter. When the butter has melted, you're ready to serve and eat!

And yummy it was. The kalamatas were a nice touch and the anise flavor of the Arak/pastis adds a unexpectedly nice flavor. (Neither of us a big anise fans, but sometimes it works.) Next time I might try this with olive oil in place of the butter to make it a bit less rich.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.


  1. Looks wonderful, Kaye. Actually I've had this one bookmarked for about three years, and keep thinking I must try it. You've just inspired me to move it a little closer to the top of the list.

  2. I know this would be a hit at my house--we love shrimp. The combination of shrimp, tomatoes, and olives alongside polenta is making me hungry!

  3. We love shrimps and these looks wonderful! A lovely dish to start-off the journey with YO!
    Have a great week!

  4. You and Sue are going to have me buying Ottolenghi before it comes pout here in September. ;-) This dish looks amazing--I love the combination of ingredients and flavors.

  5. I agree with Deb. I want to run out and buy Ottolenghi (even though I'll have to convert the recipes to US). I love shrimp. Never had them with arak or pastis or any other type of licorice liqueur. Looks delicious!

    So glad to see you joining us again:)

  6. Summertime Maine shrimp, fresh tomatoes, this will be a perfect supper with a side of salad! Yum! Great choice for this first Ottolenghi fest! But ... what's arak?

  7. Arak seems to be the Mid-Eastern version of pastis (although it might be the other way around). A clear, anise-flavored liqueur that turns cloudy white when water is added.