This time an Ottolenghi double bill from his Simple cookbook…

We combined the Aromatic olive oil mash and Roast cabbage with tarragon and pecorino recipes for dinner several times already. Both links to the website of The Guardian are almost identical to the recipes taken up in Simple. Below you will find my slightly amended versions.

Aromatic Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

The aromatic part of the mash stems from the fact that Ottolenghi uses thyme, mint, lemon, and garlic to flavor the potatoes when they are being boiled. We tried this methodology several times, and this infusion works very well, imparting subtle and uplifting flavors to the spuds.

The dressing provides the real kick, so this definitely is ‘mash 2.0’ territory.

The topping is highly recommended by itself too. It will be amazing with white fish, chicken as well as a dressing for a cold or lukewarm new potato salad.

Ottolenghi’s statement “for when you prefer keeping things lighter” was not entirely our experience, though. The olive oil-based mash is incredibly smooth and definitely fluffier compared to a finish with butter/milk/cream. The overall dish tastes fabulous, but we all found the vast quantity of olive oil too overwhelming. As we did like the texture very much, we tested a couple of times and settled on the best of both worlds: a more palatable mix of 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and butter for the mash.

The recipe (serves 4)
For the Mashed Potatoes
  • 1kg / 2¼ pounds floury potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces of approx 2½cm / 1″
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lemon – the peel finely shaved into 5 long strips
  • 2 tbsp / 30ml (neutral) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp / 30g unsalted butter
For the topping
  • 4 tbsp / 60ml olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp mint leaves. chopped
  • 1 lemon – zest finely grated, then juiced to get 1 tbsp
  1. Put the potatoes, thyme, mint, garlic cloves, lemon peel, and 2 tsp of salt in a large pan and cover with enough cold water to come 2cm / about 1″ above the potatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer gently for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are soft enough to mash.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the topping by putting the all ingredients in a small bowl with a 1/8 tsp of salt and a good grind of pepper, and stir to combine.
  4. Reserve about 140ml / 2/3 cup of aromatic cooking water and drain the cooked potatoes into a sieve set over a large bowl. Pick out the thyme and mint sprigs, then return the potatoes to the pan with the garlic and lemon peel. Using a masher, mash the potatoes and slowly add the 2 tbsp of olive oil, the reserved aromatic cooking water and 2 tbsp of butter and mix until you have a smooth, yet creamy mash.
  5. Transfer the mash to a platter or bowl and use the back of a spoon to make little dips all over the surface. Drizzle the herb and garlic oil evenly over the top and finish with a good grind of black pepper.

Roast Cabbage with Tarragon and Pecorino

We have also tried the roast cabbage recipe several times. I am a great fan of fresh tarragon, and with this one, you sprinkle it liberally over the roasted and slightly charred, garlicky cabbage wedges.

The original recipe is intended for 4 persons but uses 2 whole cabbages. With the average size found at my greengrocers, you would basically serve 1 full pound of cabbage per person. Delicious as it is, we found this a bit much for a veggie side dish, so I used only 1 cabbage and reduced the quantity of olive oil as you will need less for roasting. I didn’t reduce the tarragon obviously…

As usual, with Ottolenghi recipes, lemons are used abundantly. The lemon juice/olive oil mixture will be quite tart and can be overpowering. Therefore, I would recommend to not drizzle everything over, but just whisk them together and serve in a small bowl and let everybody decide for themselves how much they’d like to drizzle on top.

The Recipe (serves 4)
  • 6 tbsp / 90ml olive oil
  • 2 lemons – finely grate the zest to get 2 tbsp, then juice 1 lemon, to get 2 tbsp
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large pointed cabbage, outer leaves discarded, then cut lengthways into 8 wedges
  • 10g / 1/3oz tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
  • 30g / 1oz pecorino shavings
  1. Preheat the oven to 220℃/425℉.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, a ¼ tsp of salt and a good grind of pepper, together. Reserve 2 tbsp of this oil mixture.
  3. Put the cabbage wedges in a large bowl and season with a 1/8 tsp of salt. Pour the remainder of the oil mixture over the cabbage and carefully toss to coat.
  4. Arrange the cabbage wedges on an oven tray lined with baking paper, and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are crisp and golden brown. (I tend to turn the wedges once halfway for more even cooking, but in any case, do keep a good eye on them when roasting!)
  5. Transfer the cabbage to a serving dish, then leave to rest and cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Mix the 2 tbsp lemon juice with the 2 tbsp of reserved oil mixture, then drizzle evenly over the cabbage wedges (or serve separately).
  7. Scatter the chopped tarragon and pecorino shavings on top, finish with a good grind of black pepper and serve.

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