Clad in a bright pink and orange color-blocked cover, the latest cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi is the first cookbook in the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Series. Shelf Love draws its inspiration from lockdown and the sudden interest in both cooking and using up those bits and bobs at the back of your pantry, fridge and freezer.
Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, Shelf Love is a collaboration between Yotam Ottolenghi and his supporting team of chefs that make up the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen. The recipes reflect each of their own cultures and food loves, from Middle Eastern flavors to baking to the latest trends in food and flavor.
More than just recipes, Shelf Love gives you the skills you need to use up the ingredients around you, to learn how to substitute one ingredient for another (recipes have a make it your own box with suggestions) and make your cooking life simpler (with little tips to get ahead or plan out recipes). As the name implies the stars of the recipes are those ingredients gathering dust at the back of your shelf – cans of beans, frozen corn or those stray vegetables begging to be used. But and this is an important but, this is an Ottolenghi cookbook which means you can be sure of three things:
1. The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen’s shelf filled with those forgotten items is akin to the basic pantry in a MasterChef Kitchen, it’s a little more extra than the average person’s shelves. It’s not just an old can of beans or forgotten lentils there… it’s black limes, polenta, preserved lemons, and exotic spices. The beauty of this is, if you’re an Ottolenghi fan and have bought an ingredient because you needed it for one recipe to never use it again, there’s a good chance Shelf Love has a recipe utilizing that ingredient.
2. I’ve dubbed Ottolenghi, OttoLONGhi as before one embarks on an Ottolenghi recipe, one must set aside a minimum of two hours. His recipes, while some of my favorites are also often very time intensive. Shelf Love is no different, while the recipes are simpler and easier to make than some of his other cookbooks, most do still require time or forethought when it comes to prepping ingredients. There is however an index at the book with a list of recipes that can be made in under an hour, so if Ottolenghi recipes intimidate you, this cookbook is a great start.
3. Ottolenghi and his test kitchen crew have a knack of imparting delicious flavor into every dish from a seemingly simple bowl of butter beans with preserved lemons, chili and herb oil to Zaatar and tahini salmon. The dishes, while they may have mainly simple ingredients are put together in such a way that the result is something unique and flavorful.
The recipe I’m sharing is the sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter and pickled onions. It’s a unique take on a classic shakshuka that’s vibrant and spicy. An entire sweet potato is roasted with its skins on and the flesh is used as the base of the shakshuka, while the skins are tossed in some olive oil and spices, and baked till they become deliciously crispy, adding the perfect crunch to the shakshuka. Another standout component of this dish is the sriracha butter which is stupidly simple to make and adds another level of flavor to this shakshuka. It’s a “recipe” I’ll be adding to many more dishes.
This sweet potato shakshuka is a relatively uncomplicated dish to make and while the total cook time is over an hour, most of that time is spent waiting for your sweet potatoes to cook. Hands on time is less than 30 minutes.
Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love is published by Penguin Random House and is available here.
Sweet Potato Shakshuka with Pickled Onions and Sriracha Butter
- 1 kg orange sweet potatoes skin on and scrubbed clean
- 1 small red onion thinly slices into rounds
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 150 grams mature cheddar cheese roughly grated
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 medium eggs
- 25 grams unsalted butter
- 3/4 tablespoon sriracha
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander or parsley
- salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C fan. Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork (about 8-10 times) and place them on a medium parchement-lined baking tray. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through a softned (mine took closer to 2 hours). Set aside to cool and turn the oven temprature down to 180°C fan.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the onion, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and set aside to pickle.
- Remove the cooked potato skins and tear them into roughly 4cm pieces. Transfer the potato flesh to a large bowl and set aside. Place the skins back on the baking tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until nicely colored and starting to crisp up. Set aside to cool and crisp up further.
- Use a fork to mash the potato flesh until smooth, then add the cheddar, garlic, cumin, another tablespoon of olive oil, the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper, and mix to combine.
- Put the reamining tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, and swirl around the coat the bottom. Spoon the mashed poatato into the pan, using your spoon to distribute it evenly. Place ona. medium-high heat and leave to cook for 7 minutes, for the bottom to start to color. Turn the heat down to a medium heat and use a spoon to make eight wells in the potato mixture, breaking an egg into each. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, rotating the pan, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
- While the eggs are cooking, put the butter and sriracha into a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, whisking constantly to emulsify. Remove the mixture from the heat before it starts to bubble - you don't want it to split.
- When ready, spoon the sriracha butter all over the eggs, then top with a good handful of the crispy potato skins, half of the pickled onion and the fresh coriander (or parsley) leaves. Serve right away, with the rest of the potato skins and pickled onion to eat alongside.
Recipe is reprinted with permission from the publisher. Images are by Nutreats Food Photography Studio.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.