This dish took my breath away: it’s brilliant in color, ultimate in taste and spectacular in presentation. I stared at the dish for a very long time when I first saw it in Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book NOPI. If the dish were a person, I’d have felt totally embarrassed by my extended stare. (The picture in the book is so much better than my shots here.) We, participants at IHCC, are cooking along with Ottolenghi, the featured chef of the month. There will be other exciting Ottolenghi dishes there, please take a look.
NOPI has been awarded the 2016 winner by the James Beard Foundation in cooking from a professional point of view. I’m bringing this exquisite dish to help celebrate NOPI‘s exalted accomplishment. I have drawn inspirations, time and time again — from meeting Ottolenghi and Scully while they were on the book tour in New York city, leafing through the book, to cooking a few of its recipes. Words are falling short on how NOPI and Ottolenghi’s earlier books have made me a better cook and expanded my palate. Honestly, I won’t be able to put together dishes like these without the help and instructions from the authors/chefs.
I can see these NOPI‘s dishes showing up on tasting menus in restaurants anywhere and getting rave reviews. What Ottolenghi and Scully put together in the book is pure genius. Some of these dishes may look complicated. They may not be your everyday dishes. But the majority of the recipes can fit on one page. Above all, they have succeeded in making restaurant-quality dishes accessible for the home cooks — and without dumbing down.
|These dishes are suitable for tasting menus anywhere|
Here is my interpretation of a tasting menu based on various NOPI‘s recipes:
Burrata with blood orange, coriander seeds and lavender oil
Semolina-lemon syrup cake
The burrata starter, according to Ottolenghi, is one of the hot selling items at NOPI (his high-end restaurant in London). I can understand why. Burrata is rich cream wrapped in mozzarella as an outer shell, like a ball. The cream oozes out as you cut open the mozzarella layer. There is nothing quite like it. It is second to none given its mellow, smooth and creamy goodness.
Burrata is getting easier to find these days. I’ve found burrata in the local farmer’s market. But they sell out fast! With increased popularity, I’ve even spotted burrata on the shelves in Trader Joe’s and Costco from time to time.
Burrata is usually paired with tomatoes, making it more of a summer dish when tomatoes are at their best. This can be found in an earlier post when I first discovered this remarkable cheese through — guess who? Yes, the one and only Ottolenghi…. (He has introduced me to countless ingredients which have become indispensable in my pantry.) Little did I know that it also pairs well with blood oranges, which are generally available in the early spring.
I saved my last blood orange of the season for this dish. I’m so glad I did. A taste of the creamy burrata, a citrus spark from the blood orange, the sweet aroma of lavender and the pop of roasted coriander seeds put me in a very happy place. A place teeming with a heightened sense of awe, enthralled by the incredible flavor and texture of delectable food, as you take that first bite. You really have to try it.
There is no reason why we can’t have a similarly delicious dish using other seasonal fruits when blood oranges are not available. Ottolenghi recommends white peaches, clementines, pink grapefruit, roasted red grapes, pickled pears and kohlrabi, or simply regular oranges. With so many good options, this awesome dish can be enjoyed year round.