saffron yogurt

It’s summer, and so my thoughts are turning once again to comparative literature icon, Yotam Ottolenghi, this time to his non-vegetarian restaurant book (called Ottolenghi).  Like Plentyand really most cookbooks in this genre, this book is filled with beautiful, glossy food porn set against spare white pages with black Helvetica text, almost as if it were an art gallery.  I have to say, as an aside, the use of Helvetica in this case along with the almost non existent margins and copious white space on the pages annoys me quite a bit.  It looks like the proof of a final book, not a final book itself.   Just sayin’.  (Also all the measurements are in metric, which is not a big deal actually)

Anyway, one of the benefits of spending some time cooking through Plenty is that I sort of have a feel of the kinds of things he likes to do, which helps make day to day cooking a lot better.  His recipes are written in a way that they allow you to take different parts and use them for other ‘applications,’ which is good since while the food is simple there is usually one or two extra steps involved which make the preparation less than completely simple.

In this case we have a saffron yogurt that he puts over roasted eggplant, but would go well with any kind of cooked vegetable, or on a  flatbread, or  with rice, or on grilled meat, and with many different cuisines.  Pairing it with fresh herbs is recommended, especially basil.  And it’s simple enough to not even really be a recipe.  If you don’t have saffron, please go out and get some.  It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way.  TAL got me a couple of small packets of saffron for my birthday last year, and I’ve used them fairly often, and they are not even close to being finished.  Really, all you need is a pinch.

Saffron Yogurt

1 cup greek yogurt

a few threads of saffron, crumbled up with your fingers

1/4 cup hot water (not boiling)

one small garlic clove, crushed through a press or finely diced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (or move)

1-2 tsp lemon zest

Juice of two lemons

salt to taste

1. mix crumbled saffron threads and hot water in a bowl and let sit for five minutes

2. mix yogurt and all of the other ingredients in a separate bowl

3. combine saffron/water mixture and yogurt mixture, and whisk.

4. taste and adjust salt accordingly.  You may also want to add more lemon juice (the originally recipe calls for only 2.5 tbs, but I think it could use more).

See, not even a real recipe, but simple and tasty, and good for pairing with all your summer farmer’s market produce, as you lament the excessive heat in your second story apartment.  Summer!

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