(Not a paid endorsement, merely a fervent testimonial)
About this time every summer, I realize the vegetables I have been gathering so greedily, at the CSA and the Farmers’ Market, are going to rise up and overthrow my little food monarchy, and something must be done to reduce their numbers. In years past, I have resorted to freezing a lot of vegetables, but you can’t freeze them all, which has led to a guilt-ridden race to cook and consume them in any way possible, because I can’t bear the thought of throwing them out. But the magic of each vegetable’s fleeting summer goodness can get lost in that process.
Thankfully, last year, I discovered Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi, and It. Changed. My. Life. So this year, when the vegetable army began its summertime march, I was ready. Now when I pick up my CSA share, I have a plan. So far, I have dispatched beets, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Swiss chard with Ottolenghi’s expert guidance, and have savored every bite with joy.
I know there are a few other tried-and-true vegetarian cookbooks out there, but since I’m not a vegetarian, I haven’t looked at them. Plenty caught my attention because Ottolenghi isn’t a vegetarian, either, and he approached the vegetables as he would any dish with meat, aiming to pair them with just the right herbs and spices and cooking methods to allow them to shine. Plus he has fused flavors from all around the Mediterranian, creating some of the most unique dishes I have ever eaten. Ottolenghi recently released a sequel, Plenty More, which I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet, but that sounds like some inspirational winter reading…
If you search “Ottolenghi” in the search bar on the right, you’ll be directed to all the posts I’ve written and recipes I cooked from Plenty last year. If your CSA has given you plenty, you need to get Plenty.