Multi-layered, textural vegetable-based recipes are at the heart of Israeli-British chef and writer Yotam Ottolenghi's food. His new cookbook Flavour (out now) — the third installment in the bestselling and multi-award-winning Plenty series — is no different. Ottolenghi and his co-writer Ixta Belfrage break down the foundations for creating great flavour, exploring the process, pairing and produce behind each recipe. Of this dish Ottolenghi says:
We’re not mad about calling vegetables a ‘steak’ or ‘burger’ or ‘schnitzel’, because it feels like you are trying to pass them off as something else, something superior. Vegetables are great simply as they are. In fact, they are the best! Sometimes, though, using a meaty name helps you understand what’s going on and how delicious it is. Our portobellos aren’t trying to be a steak, theyare simply as good as any steak (with mash), if not better. What gives the mushrooms their verve is the chillies and spices and all the flavoured oil that coats them. You’ll make more oil than you need here; keep it refrigerated in a sealed container to spoon over grilled vegetables, noodles, meat or fish. Serve this with some sautéed greens, if you like.
|8 large||Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (Main)|
|10||Garlic cloves, peeled|
|1||Onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges (Main)|
|1 ½ tsp||Chipotle chilli flakes|
|4 tsp||Cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar|
|1 Tbsp||Coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar|
|2 Tbsp||Tomato paste|
|400 ml||Olive oil|
Butter bean mash
|700 g||Butter beans, cooked, drained if canned (Main)|
|1 ½ Tbsp||Lemon juice|
|1 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 pinch||Sea salt flakes|
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- Preheat the oven to 150°C fan.
- Put all the ingredients for the steaks and 1 tablespoon of flaked salt into a large oven-proof saucepan, for which you have a lid. Arrange the mushrooms so they are domed side up, then top with a piece of parchment paper, pushing it down to cover all the ingredients. Cover with the lid, then transfer to the oven for 1 hour. Turn the mushrooms over, replacing the paper and lid, and return to the oven for 20 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are very tender but not falling apart. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the mushrooms to a chopping board, then cut them in half and set aside.
- Use a spoon to remove the onion, garlic and chilli (discarding the stem)– don't worry if you scoop up some of the spices and oil. Put them into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth. Return the blitzed onion mixture to the saucepan, along with the mushroom halves, and place on a medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, for all the flavours to come together.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, make the mash by putting the beans into a food processor along with the lemon juice, olive oil, ½ teaspoon flaked salt and 2 tablespoons of water. Blitz until completely smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook on a medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring, until warmed through.
- To serve, divide the butter bean mash between four plates. Top with four mushroom halves per plate and spoon over a generous amount of the oil and its accompanying aromatics (you won't need all of it, though – see intro).