I’ve been seeing cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi in bookstores for quite some time and couldn’t imagine what someone with a name like that would cook. I finally decided to find out, so I went to Amazon and looked at a couple of his books. It is nice that you can look inside the books there and get a feel for one before you buy it. I learned that Ottolenghi was born in Israel and has lived in London. He and Sami Tamimi, who was born of Palestinian parents in the old city of Jerusalem met in London, discovered they had grown up very close to each other but hadn’t known each other. After becoming friends, they subsequently became chef co-owners of restaurants, c0-authors of cookbooks and entrepreneurs who make middle-eastern spices and foods available commercially. Ottolenghi also has a regular column and publishes recipes in The Guardian newspaper. His website is ottolenghi.co.uk.
Browsing the website, I found a section on recipes which kept me busy for quite a while just reading and drooling. Now, my challenge is selecting one of the cookbooks to purchase. (Complication ; I need to clear out space on my tablet to make room for a software upgrade – it’s always something!)
Lisa Mandelkern of Las Cruces was kind enough to give me a bag of pomegranates while we were at the Native Plant Society of New Mexico State Conference last weekend. I had a few ripened tomatoes ready to use from a fried green tomato cooking demo I did a couple of weeks ago. It was fate that I would discover a beautiful recipe for a tomato and pomegranate salad by Ottohenghi. I even had pomegranate molasses in my pantry from another culinary adventure! All I needed was a small red onion and a packet of fresh oregano and I was ready to go.
Tomatoes are and pomegranates both are sweet, but in different ways. Pomegranate molasses has a delectable tartness that goes well with a hint of white wine vinegar. It is an amazing treat for the palate. I may have to have guests for dinner just to show this off!
Here’s Ottolenghi’s recipe for this spectacular salad. It converted easily to make half a recipe that was the right size for two. Do yourself a favor and make it now at the end of the fresh tomato season and beginning of the pomegranate season overlap.
Tomato and Pomegranate Salad
BY YOTAM OTTOLENGHI
1 1/3 cups red cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
1 1/3 cups yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
1 1/3 cups tiger or plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
18 ounce medium slicing tomatoes (about 5), cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
1 red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice (1 cup)
1 small red onion, finely diced (rounded 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large pomegranate, seeds removed (1 cup seeds)
1 tablespoon small oregano leaves
Mix together all the tomatoes, the red pepper, and the onion in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, and a scant 1/2 teaspoon salt until well combined. Pour this over the tomato mixture and gently mix.
Arrange the tomato mixture and its juices on a large, flat plate. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and oregano over the top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.