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Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for winter vegetables as standalone meals

There’s no reason cauliflower cheese, roast celeriac or braised carrots and leeks can’t be the stars of the show, rather than just the support acts

Every weekend, the glossy supplements of all the newspapers (this one included) are filled with recipes, and for the past seven years food writer Ed Smith has taken it upon himself to catalogue and digest those recipes on his blog, Rocket & Squash. In all that time, he noticed there was barely a handful of recipes for side dishes among them. “Which is madness,” he writes in his book On The Side (£20, Bloomsbury), which was inspired by this gap in the recipe-writing market: “A key part of every mealtime is being ignored.”

I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve been championing the “two veg” side of the meat-and-two-veg equation for as long as I’ve been writing recipes. After all, it’s these bits on the side that are often the tastiest and most interesting parts of a meal. In fact, dishes that I’ve planned to serve on the side often end up taking centre stage. Fill your plate with two or three sides, for example, and suddenly there’s no room or need for the roast chicken or sausages you thought were essential.

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