Ottolenghi Recipes on Masterchef

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If you have been following the new season of Masterchef, Yotam Ottolenghi was featured in a recent episode where the contestants had to cook from his vegetarian recipes. I have listed the recipes below here. Sometimes Ottolenghi recipes are a bit complicated and uses a lot of ingredients, the end results is always superb.

These are the recipes that were cooked:

  • Stuffed onion skins (Plenty)
  • Sweetcorn polenta, with feta, aubergine, tomato and oregano sauce
  • Chilli and black pepper tofu (Plenty)
  • Grilled vegetables and haloumi salad

Note: All the recipes can be found in these fab Ottolenghi Cookbooks.

Stuffed Onion Skins from Plenty –Serves 4

500ml veg stock
350ml white wine
4 large onions
3 small tomatoes
120g white breadcrumbs
90g feta, crumbled
80g parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 spring onions, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Some butter, for greasing the dish

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a baking dish with butter.

Combine the wine and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. While this is happening, trim the top and bottom from the onions, cut them lengthways in half and remove the skin. Carefully remove most of the insides to leave 3 or 4 outer layers of onion. Carefully separate these. Turn the stock to a simmer and put the onion layers in it, a few at a time. Cook them for 3-4 minutes or until just tender then set aside. Keep the stock.

To make the stuffing, grate the tomatoes into a bowl using a coarse cheese grater. Most of the skin will be left behind in your hands and you can discard it.

Add the feta, breadcrumbs, parsley, olive oil, spring onions, salt and some pepper. Mix well.

Fill each onion layer generously and roll into a ‘fat cigar shape’. Place fold side down in the dish. Pour over about 75ml of the stock.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until they are brown and charred in places and bubbling underneath. You can add more stock if they look like they’re drying up during cooking. Serve warm.


Sweetcorn Polenta – serves 4

6 corn ears (560g scraped kernels)
500ml water
40g butter
200g feta, crumbled
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the aubergine sauce

150ml vegetable oil
1 medium aubergine, in 2cm dice
2 tsp tomato paste
60ml white wine
200g chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
100ml water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped oregano, plus whole leaves to garnish

First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the aubergine on medium heat for 15 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain and discard as much oil as you can. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for two minutes on medium heat. Add the wine and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano, and cook for five minutes, to get a deep flavoured sauce. Set aside.

To make the polenta, chop the very top and bottom off every corn ear. Stand the ear on its base, and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels. Place the kernels in a medium-sized saucepan and pour in the water, to cover. Add half the butter and cook on a low simmer for 12 minutes. Lift out the kernels with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a food processor. Process for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. If the mixture is too dry to process, add a little of the cooking water.

Return the corn paste to the water pan and, over low heat and stirring all the while, cook again for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mashed potato. Now fold in the remaining butter, feta, salt and pepper, and cook for two minutes longer. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Divide the polenta into shallow bowls and spoon some warm sauce in the centre. Garnish the aubergine sauce with picked oregano leaves and serve hot.


Chilli and black pepper tofu (Plenty)

800g firm, fresh tofu
Cornflour, to dust the tofu
Vegetable oil, for frying
150g butter
12 small shallots (350g), peeled and thinly sliced
8 red chillies, thinly sliced
12 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped ginger
5 tbsp crushed black peppercorns
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
16 small, thin spring onions, cut into segments 3cm long

Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft. While you wait, crush the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. They should be quite coarse.

When the shallots and chillies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the crushed pepper. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.


Grilled vegetables and haloumi salad (Plenty)

serves 4

350g cherry tomatoes, halved
140ml olive oil
coarse sea salt and black pepper
24 asparagus
2 courgettes
200g haloumi cheese, sliced 2cm thick (original recipe uses manouri cheese)
25g rocket

For the basil oil:
75ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
25g basil leaves
a pinch of salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 170c/325f/ gas mark 3. Mix the tomatoes with three tablespoons of olive oil and season. Spread them out, skin-side down, on a baking tray lined with parchment, and roast for 40 minutes, until semi-dried. Set aside to cool.

2. Prepare the asparagus by trimming the woody bases and blanch in boiling water for four minutes. Then drain, refresh in cold water until cooled,then drain. Then transfer to a bowl and toss with two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Slice the courgettes very thinly lengthwise (a mandolin would be very useful for this job, otherwise use a vegetable peeler) and mix with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper.

4. Heat up a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and leave for a few minutes until very hot. Grill the courgettes and asparagus, turning after a minute – you want nice char marks on all sides. remove and leave to cool.

5. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the haloumi for three minutes a side, until golden. drain on kitchen paper. (or char-grill the cheese on the griddle for two minutes a side.)

6. For the basil oil, blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

6. Arrange the rocket, vegetables and cheese in layers on a flat serving plate – build up the salad while showing all the individual components. Drizzle with as much basil oil as you like (you can store any extra in the fridge)  and serve.

You can read about the London cooking club where we all made recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbooks.



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  1. Particularly the halloumi salad sounds amazing! I love halloumi, nom.
    Shame we didn’t get to talk more yesterday at Jamie’s. Next time 🙂

    1. LondonFoodie says:

      The recipe uses manouri cheese as an alternative. Must be yum as well.

      We have to catch up again another time.

  2. I have cooked the stuffed onions and the black pepper tofu before and I agree with you – his recipes are always brilliant, every single one I’ve tried has turned out fantastic. Will definitely have to watch that Masterchef episode!