For quite a while, I have been intrigued about turning yogurt into a luxurious Middle Eastern cheese like labneh. In mediterranean restaurants, labneh is served as an appetizer and dessert. They are wonderful in both savory and sweet applications. Put the labneh out on the table with some crackers or bread, and watch it disappear. I decided it’s time to make my own labneh.
There is no cooking involved, just chilling and waiting. That doesn’t mean it’s a quick dish. It does requires some planning and start straining the yogurt the day before. But the actual hands-on time is rather brief. It’s a straightforward and mouth-watering recipe I’ve found on the Ottolenghi website. I have more labneh straining in the refrigerator as I’m writing this post.
Instead of black olives, I used a medley of green and red olives. The herbaceous goodness comes from fresh oregano, parsley, lemon zest and garlic. As the name of the dish implies, two of my favorite nuts, toasted pistachio and pine nuts, are piled high on top to give the labneh some crunchy texture. A few red pepper flakes round out well the creaminess of the cheese and the salty and nutty ingredients. Ottolenghi recommends serving this with chunks of fresh tomatoes mixed in with slices of red onion. There you have it: a complete no-cook dish without any use of heat and fire. Just a sensible and cool way to tackle the intense and unrelenting heat wave this week.
IHCC home cooks are presenting their own solutions to a no-cook challenge. You can find them here. Stay cool and happy summer!
|Toppings: olives, oregano, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, pistachio, pine nuts and chili|