Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for one | Food (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Three ideas for solo meals: za’atar salmon baked in tahini, fried rice spiked with slow-cooked ginger and garlic, and roast sweet potato and feta in a piquant tomato sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi

Sat 15 Feb 2020 10.30 CET

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The narrative around recipes is usually about bounty. Family, friends, flatmates: it’s all too frequently assumed that a group of people is gathered around the table, but that is often simply not the case.

Whatever the reason for eating on your own – you live alone, the kids are in bed, your partner is away, it’s Monday night and all you want is to eat, happily, alone – it’s not always one that’s properly catered for.

Cooking and eating for one should be a lovely thing. It’s calming, peaceful and – selfishly, delightfully – you get to eat the entire contents of the pan (and straight from the pan, too, should you so wish: no one’s looking), all by yourself.

Roasted sweet potato, tomato sauce and feta (above)

Sweet potato cooks quickly, so it’s ideal for a speedy supper for one. Feel free, however, to swap it for another vegetable, such as aubergine or courgette. This serves one, but the sauce can be easily scaled up if you’re cooking for more, or batch cooking. Serve with rice, couscous or a bowl of greens.

Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 1

1 large sweet potato (250g), cut into 2½cm-thick rounds
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
200g tomato passata
½ tsp caster sugar
100g datterini tomatoes (or regular cherry tomatoes)
1½ tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves, plus 1 tbsp extra to serve
75g Greek feta, roughly crumbled into large chunks

Heat the oven to its highest setting. Put the sweet potato, a tablespoon of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper on a medium-sized oven tray lined with baking paper and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the contents of the tray once halfway, or until softened and lightly coloured. Remove and turn the oven to a high grill setting.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized, ovenproof frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes, until lightly golden. Turn down the heat to medium, then add the passata, sugar, whole tomatoes, 150ml water, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and good grind of pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the tomatoes have softened.

Stir through the coriander, then remove the pan from the heat and add the sweet potato rounds. Top with the feta and grill for 10 minutes, or until the feta has taken on some colour. Top with the extra coriander and serve.

Ginger egg fried rice

Many moons ago, my colleague Noor Murad worked at Spice Market in New York, which has since sadly closed its doors. This rice dish, conceived by its genius chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is as simple as it is delicious, so we’ve left it more or less alone. It’s a good idea to make more of the fried ginger and garlic than you need here, because it’s lovely sprinkled over salads, rice dishes and grilled meat. The excess will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature (ie, not the fridge).

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 1

2 tbsp olive oil
25g piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
⅛ tsp aleppo chilli
30g unsalted butter
1 large leek (or 2 smaller ones), trimmed, cut in half lengthways and then into 2cm-thick half-moons (250g net weight)
250g packet pre-cooked jasmine rice (or leftover cooked rice)
1 spring onion, trimmed and finely sliced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 large egg

Put a tablespoon of oil, the ginger and garlic in a small, nonstick frying pan on a medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-18 minutes, until the mixture is crisp and golden. Stir in the chilli, then transfer the mixture to a plate, spacing it out so it can crisp further.

Meanwhile, put the butter and a teaspoon and half of the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the leek and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until soft and lightly coloured. Turn the heat to high and add the rice, stirring to break it up and spread it out over the whole cooking surface. Leave to brown in places, stir again, and repeat for four to five minutes, until the rice is heated through and well browned. Stir in the spring onion, soy and sesame oil, and turn off the heat.

Put the remaining teaspoon and the remaining olive oil in a small, nonstick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, crack in the egg and sprinkle lightly with salt. Top the white of the egg with the ginger mix, sprinkling it evenly all around, and cook for about three minutes, until the white is set and the yolk runny. Transfer the rice to a bowl, top with the egg and serve warm.

Za’atar salmon baked in tahini

The combination of tahini and fish will be a treat to those who haven’t tried it before. I like creamy, runny, nutty tahini, which in the UK is usually imported from Lebanon, Palestine or Israel, so try to seek it out. Eat this just as it is or with some bread to mop things up.

Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 1

1 salmon fillet (about 150g), skin-on and pin-boned
Salt and black pepper
1¼ tsp za’atar
½ tsp sumac
2 tbsp olive oil
100g baby spinach
40g tahini
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/465F/gas 9. Pat dry the fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the za’atar and sumac, then sprinkle all over the top of the salmon to create a crust.

Put a medium-sized, ovenproof frying pan (about 18cm in diameter) on a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the spinach and a small pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook until just wilted – about 90 seconds to two minutes. Lay the salmon skin side down on top of the spinach, drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the flesh side and transfer the pan to the oven for five minutes.

While the fish is cooking, whisk the tahini with a tablespoon of lemon juice, the garlic, a good pinch of salt and 45ml of water in a small bowl, until smooth and quite runny.

When the fish’s time is up, remove it from the oven, pour the tahini mixture all around (but not over) the salmon, and return the pan to the oven for another five minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the tahini is bubbling. Spoon over the remaining half-tablespoon of lemon juice and serve straight from the pan.

The Guardian aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. For ratings in your region, check: UK; Australia; US.


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