A few weeks ago I ordered Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. In addition to being one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have ever seen, the recipes are inspired. In an era where recipes tend to feel like an ever-so-slightly-modified version of someone else’s work, his recipes immediately struck me as original. And it was all food I wanted to eat. The evening the book arrived I stayed up until midnight flipping through the pages, reading the recipes, taking in the photos, and making notes on what I would make first.
Ottolenghi, a celebrated London-based chef and lover of meat, was asked to write a column in the UK’s Guardian called “The New Vegetarian” back in 2006. This book is a culmination of those recipes and a few more. Inspired by his roots in Palestine and Israel and extensive travel, this is a cookbook infused with elements of food and culture from around the world.
Warm Butter Beans with Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Dill
Inspired by Ottolenghi’s recipe for ‘Fried Lima Beans with Feta, Sorrel and Sumac’.
Serves 4 as a main course
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 cans (15 ounces each) butter beans, drained
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large garlic clove, cut into coins and smashed
5 ounces (5 to 6 packed cups) arugula
3 to 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1 lemon, for squeezing
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the beans and cook until spotty brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl and repeat process twice more with remaining butter, oil, and beans. Add scallions, garlic, and arugula as the last batch of beans finishes; cook, stirring constantly, until just wilted. Return remaining beans to the pan; remove from heat, and let stand until warm. Sprinkle with cheese, dill, optional sumac and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately with additional lemon wedges.