Tuesday, 11 May 2010

OTTOLENGHI'S YOGHURT SAUCE



This is one of those delicious, easy-to-make accompaniments that once tried you will want to make all the time. It is from one of my favourite recipe books, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, which is full of interesting and unusual dishes based on the food served in the eponymous cafes in Notting Hill, Kensington and trendy Islington. I haven't actually eaten at an Ottolenghi cafe - yet - but I have walked past the cafe on Ledbury Road, W11 quite a few times. If you have heard of Ottolenghi, it's probably because of the giant meringues which they make and display in the window, great balls of sweetness piled up on elegant glass cake-stands. Yoram Ottolenghi, the owner, is Israeli and the food is most definitely inspired by the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, the kind of food which I love: full of spices, piquant flavours, and fresh herbs like coriander and dill.

In the recipe book, this yoghurt sauce should accompany Chickpeas and Spinach with Honeyed Sweet Potato, a vegetarian dish which is comforting and tasty. The yoghurt sauce, which is spiked with lemon zest, cuts through the sweetness of the honeyed sweet potato. I love this sauce and now make it all the time, usually the accompany grilled meat or kebabs. It works particularly well with lamb and chicken and is great as an accompaniment for barbecued food. I also like it slathered over fried Halloumi cheese, another great ingredient from the eastern Mediterranean. Once made, it keeps quite well in the fridge for a couple of days, if covered with cling film, and can easily be augmented with chopped fresh herbs or harissa paste.

100g Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
juice & grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried mint

Whisk together all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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