My new Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi enchants and entices me on every page. Somehow the authors manage to transform traditional and familiar dishes from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine into even more delicious, vibrant, and novel flavor combinations. We had the roasted chicken with clementines last night (substituting ouzo for arak), and it was sensational! The recipe heaps on intense anise seasonings from fennel, fennel seed, and the anise-scented liquor, but in the roasting process, it imparts just a subtle anise note with an enormous punch of wowing flavor. My tastebuds were dancing at each bite of tender and delicious chicken — slightly charred but moist — the softened fennel, the hints of thyme, and the delightfully bittersweet slices of clementines, peel and all.
A pot of seafood and this Maine native is happy. We cooked up our first mussels of the season in a flavorful white wine broth with thyme, fennel, leek and carrot. Hunks of baguette helped us sop up every last drop. Continue reading
Lentils may make the best hearty soup for a winter’s day, but it’s also pretty easy to give lentils a summer makeover that’s refreshing and flavorful, perfect for a warm August evening. To me, fennel brings out a vibrant taste in the lentils, and a lemon spritz and fresh basil give them another zing of flavor. Continue reading