Get the Recipe
Throw any preconceptions you have about this spread out the window; the name is perhaps misleading. As Yotam Ottolenghi says in the introduction to this recipe from his new cookbook, Plenty More, this is only vaguely reminiscent of baba ghanoush. Ottolenghi first broils the zucchini, which become slippery, silky, and smoky. Gently mashed with garlic, at this point the squash does call to mind the more familiar eggplant spread. But there the similarities end.
Ottolenghi, in his infinite and peculiar wisdom, tops the zucchini mixture with a custard sauce made with goat's milk yogurt, Roquefort cheese, and an egg. Did your brow just furrow? I admit, I would never have come up with that funky concoction, but those three ingredients create a sauce that is pungent, rich, and intriguing. (Actually, it becomes something of an earwig—I can't stop thinking about it. Is it weird that I want to try it as a savory ice cream?) And on top of that goes toasted pine nuts and the lightly lemony, chili-laced butter he toasts them in. Finally, a sprinkle of za'atar finishes off this "volcanic eruption" (his words) of a spread.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't envision what this would taste like all together, which meant I had to try it.
What worked: Every bit of it. Broiling the zucchini is a wonderful way to cook the usually bland squash: it takes on smokiness and sweetness and a character of its own. The Roquefort (a sheep's milk blue cheese) and goat's milk-yogurt sauce is pretty jaw-dropping, which is convenient, given my desire to shovel it in. The toasty, spicy pine nuts and butter and the herbaceous za'atar add textural dimension and warmth.
What didn't: **The sound of crickets chirping...**
Suggested tweaks: As is always the case, if you have a scale, go with weighed amount. My zucchini were huge, and it only took three to meet his weight measurement.
With a million thanks to our friends at Ten Speed Press, we have 5 copies of Plenty More to give away this week.