13 Jun Jon Cartu Suggest: Fish’n’chips and 99s: Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for a Brit…
I sat down to define a British summer, and here’s what came to mind. It means long daylight hours and a breezy cheer. It means a house full of open windows and a bottle of Pimm’s. It means that one pair of linen trousers and those open-toe shoes. And it most definitely means outdoor dining, come what may. A British summer is what’s on the agenda for most of us here in the UK, and perhaps those rays of sunshine coming our way allude to a very British summer full of hope.
Fish and chips (ish) (pictured above)
This variation on the classic is a massive departure from tradition, but I think it works pretty well: the sweet potato replaces regular potatoes, the fish crust features buckwheat and is gluten-free, and the mayo is actually toum, a fiery Arabic whipped garlic sauce. Swap the toum for some mayonnaise or yoghurt, if you prefer, but it does make the dish super-special. You’ll end up with a little more of it than you need, so keep the excess in a sealed jar in the fridge, to smear on grilled meat or vegetables.
Prep 25 min
Cook 50 min
For the fish
4 cod fillets, boneless and skinless (560g)
700ml sunflower oil, for deep frying
55g rice flour
50g buckwheat flour
2 tbsp black and white sesame seeds, toasted
185ml sparkling water
For the chips
1 red chilli, cut into thin slices, seeds and all (10g net weight)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper
3 sweet potatoes (650g), unpeeled, cut lengthways into 4 wedges (or 6, if they’re on the large side)
75ml olive oil
10g chives, finely chopped (about 3¼ tbsp)
For the toum
90g garlic cloves (eg, about 2 whole heads), cloves separated and peeled
3½ tbsp lemon juice
230ml sunflower oil, or another neutral oil
1 tbsp ice-cold water
Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/465F/gas 9. Put the chillies, vinegar and a tiny pinch of salt in a small bowl and leave to pickle while you get on with everything else.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil on a medium-high heat, add half the peeled garlic cloves and blanch for 45 seconds – you don’t want them to soften, just to take off their “garlicky” edge. Drain, run under cold water to stop them cooking further, then pat dry and set aside. Use a small, sharp knife to cut the remaining unblanched garlic in half lengthways, and remove the white inner cores. Put both the blanched and unblanched garlic in a food processor, add a quarter-teaspoon of salt and two and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, then blitz, for about two or three minutes, until very smooth and aerated; stop a couple of times to scrape down the bowl. With the motor running, very slowly drizzle in a third of the sunflower oil, followed by a tablespoon of ice-cold water. Repeat with another third of sunflower oil, then add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and, finally, the last of the sunflower oil. You should be left with a white, fluffy and homogenised mixture. Set aside (or refrigerate if you’re making the toum ahead of time).
Put the sweet potatoes on a large oven tray lined with baking paper, add two tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 25 minutes, or until softened and nicely coloured.
While the potatoes are roasting, make the fish. Pat dry the cod fillets and season them with half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Pour the sunflower oil into a large, high-sided, nonstick saute pan on a medium-high heat and, while it’s heating up, make the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk the flours, sesame seeds and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, then slowly whisk in the sparkling water until you have a thick, smooth and pourable batter.
Drop a little bit of batter into the oil to test it’s hot enough: it should immediately start to sizzle and take on a bit of colour. Dip one cod fillet in the batter until nicely coated, then drop it straight into the hot oil, then repeat with a second fillet. Fry for seven minutes, turning halfway, until lightly golden and cooked through, then transfer to a tray lined with absorbent paper and repeat with the remaining two fillets.
In a small bowl, mix the chives, remaining three tablespoons of oil and a small pinch of salt.
When ready to serve, arrange the fish on a large platter. Arrange the potato wedges to one side, spoon all but a tablespoon of the chive oil over the potatoes, and follow with the chilli and its liquid. Transfer the toum to a bowl, spoon over the last tablespoon of chive oil and nestle on the platter as well. Serve warm.
Cucumber salad with brown butter croutons
This is a play on a traditional cucumber sandwich, but in salad form, incorporating its three key components: cucumber, bread and butter.
Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4 as a side
65g unsalted butter
150g soft white bread (about 3-4 slices), crusts removed and discarded, cut into roughly 2cm cubes
Salt and black pepper
25g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
15g dill leaves, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
90ml olive oil
5 Lebanese cucumbers (or 2 English cucumbers), cut in half lengthways, seeds removed, then cut at an angle into rough 2-3cm chunks (620g net weight)
1 lemon – zest finely grated, to get 1½ tsp, and juiced, to get 1½ tbsp
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a medium heat and, once melted, stir regularly for three or four minutes, until the butter is browned and nutty, then turn off the heat.
Spread out the bread cubes on a medium oven tray lined with baking paper, scatter with a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then pour the browned butter over the top. Toss to coat, then bake for 10 minutes, tossing once halfway, until golden and starting to crisp up, then remove to cool completely and crisp up further.
Meanwhile, make a herb oil by blitzing the parsley, dill, garlic, oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper in a food processor, until smooth.
When ready to serve, put the cucumber in a large bowl with the herb oil, lemon zest and juice, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and toss until everything is well coated. Add the croutons, toss again, then transfer to a platter and eat right away, while the croutons are still crunchy.
This is a take on the much-loved Flake 99, using a no-churn method and a few pantry staples. It’s a great one for the little ones and large-sized kids alike.
Prep 5 min
Cook 25 min
Set 6 hr-plus
500ml whipping cream
2 tbsp custard powder
2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
¼ tsp salt
3 slices white bread, crusts removed and discarded, each slice cut in half diagonally into 2 triangles
20g unsalted butter, melted
3 chocolate flakes, broken in half (or 3 tbsp milk chocolate, roughly shaved)
Put the cream, custard powder and vanilla in a medium saucepan on a medium heat, bring to a simmer, whisking continuously to avoid lumps, then cook, stirring, for about four minutes, or until the mix thickens to a custard-like consistency and easily coats the back of a spoon. Pour the custard into a large bowl and cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate for about an hour, until cold.
Using an electric mixer or hand whisk, whisk the custard to medium peaks (you only want to aerate it), taking care not to over-whip it. Add the condensed milk and salt, whisk just to combine, then transfer to a freezer-proof container for which you have a lid.Cover and freeze for at least six hours, until set.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Use a…