cover image Ottolenghi Simple

Ottolenghi Simple

Yotam Ottolenghi, with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth. Ten Speed, $35 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60774-916-5

As Ottolenghi lightheartedly points out, he is often teased for requiring a surfeit of exotic ingredients in his bestselling cookbooks, which include Nopi and Jerusalem. This collection is meant to remedy that with “simple” dishes, though that simplicity is hazily defined, as many recipes call for a long list of ingredients. In a gimmicky touch, each of the letters in simple has been assigned a meaning (L is for lazy, E for “easier than you think”), and recipes are tagged accordingly. But these categories are coy: dishes tagged with a P, for example, can be made with what readers are presumed to have on hand in the pantry, which in this case includes urfa chile flakes and black garlic. This book may not be as challenging as Ottolenghi’s previous collections, but a side dish of harissa chickpeas with flaked cod calls for 13 ingredients, and baked mint rice with pomegranate and olive salsa has 14 ingredients. That said, the chef’s imagination shines in items like a cakey beet and goat cheese bread. Comfort food with an international twist rules the day: highlights include baked potatoes and soft-boiled eggs with Italian tonnato sauce, and lamb siniyah, a shepherd’s pie with a crust of tahini rather than mashed potatoes. Desserts include a mixture of crushed graham crackers, melted chocolate, pistachios, and rum-soaked raisins refrigerated until set, and a no-churn raspberry ice cream. Claims to simplicity aside, this is yet another appealing cookbook from a pro who seems to turn them out with ease. [em](Oct.) [/em]