Dhaka, Bangladesh
Yotam Ottolenghi's main course recipes for a Christmas party

Yotam Ottolenghi's main course recipes for a Christmas party

(From previous issue) Heat two tablespoons of oil in a small pan, add the almonds and cook, stirring continuously, for three to four minutes, until golden brown and evenly cooked. Take off the heat, leave to cool a little, then roughly chop and put in a bowl (discard the cooking oil). Add a teaspoon of lemon zest, 60ml lemon juice, the honey, orange blossom water, half a teaspoon of salt, a good grind of black pepper and three tablespoons of oil, stir to combine and set aside. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put a large ridged griddle pan on a high heat and ventilate the kitchen. Rub the peppers all over with a tablespoon of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then grill for about 10 minutes, turning once halfway, until charred on both sides. Leave to cool, then cut into 2cm-wide strips. Put the lamb fillets on the piping-hot griddle (reserve the marinade) and grill for about four minutes in total, turning once halfway, until charred and starting to caramelise on both sides. Transfer the browned fillets to a roasting tray, add the peppers and reserved marinade, and roast for three to four minutes for medium-rare (or for a few minutes longer if you prefer it more done). You could also hold the meat in the fridge after its initial griddling, in which case bring it up to room temperature before roasting and give it 15 minutes in the oven. (Either way, timings will depend on the thickness of the meat: to tell how well it's done, press a finger on to the meat: the less give it has, the more it is cooked.) Once the lamb is done, take it from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for five to 10 minutes. Carve the lamb into 1cm-thick slices and arrange on a platter with the peppers. Finely chop the mint, add to the sauce and spoon on top. Serve any excess sauce on the side. Puy lentils with roast aubergine, tomatoes and yoghurt This is a glorious thing to have in the fridge, ready for piling on toast or serving with grilled chicken or fish. However many people I'm cooking for, I find it hard not to double or even triple the quantities given here, so I can snack on the leftovers in the days that follow. If you're inclined to do the same, hold back on the yoghurt until serving: you don't want to add it to the mix. Serves four, generously. 8 aubergines (2.2kg), pricked a few times with a knife 600g cherry tomatoes 320g puy lentils 60ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 3 tbsp lemon juice 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 6 tbsp oregano leaves Salt and black pepper 200g Greek-style yoghurt Heat the oven to its highest setting (250C/480F/gas mark 10). Put the aubergines on two baking trays and roast for an hour, turning them halfway, until the flesh is completely soft and slightly smoky. Remove and, once cool enough handle, scoop out the flesh into a colander (discard the skins) and leave in the sink or over a bowl for 30 minutes, so any excess liquid drains away. Scatter the tomatoes on one of the now-empty aubergine trays and roast for 12 minutes, until slightly blackened, split and soft. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the lentils, turn down the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, until they're cooked but still have some bite. Drain and set aside to steam dry a little. Tip the lentils into a large bowl and add the aubergine, tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, garlic, four tablespoons of oregano, one and a half teaspoons of salt and lots of pepper. Mix to combine, then spoon into a shallow serving bowl. Top with yoghurt - if you want, swirl it through to create attractive white streaks. Sprinkle over the remaining oregano, drizzle with a little oil and serve. Pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives and capers This North African-inspired pasta is short on effort and big on complex flavour. The sauce can be made well in advance - it will keep in the fridge for at least three days - and can be happily doubled or tripled. If you do so, you'll be able to produce last-minute or unplanned feasts in as much time as it takes to cook the pasta. If you can't get pappardelle, another wide, flat pasta (such as tagliatelle) also works well - as does any pasta, really, or even couscous or quinoa. Serves four. 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced 3 tbsp rose (or regular) harissa 400g cherry tomatoes, halved 55g pitted kalamata olives, torn in half 20g baby capers Salt 15g parsley leaves, roughly chopped 500g dried pappardelle 120g Greek-style yoghurt On a medium-high flame, heat the oil in a large saute pan for which you have a lid, then fry the onions for eight minutes, stirring every once in a while, until soft and caramelised. Add the harissa, tomatoes, olives, capers and a half-teaspoon of salt, and fry, stirring often, for three to four minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add 200ml water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, cook for four to five minutes more, until the sauce is thick and rich, then stir in two-thirds of the parsley and set aside. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, cook the pasta as per the packet instructions, until al dente, then drain. Return the pasta to the pot, add the sauce and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, and toss to coat. Divide between four shallow bowls and serve hot, with a spoonful of yoghurt and sprinkle of parsley. Mango and lemongrass dal with roast cod Serve this sweet and aromatic dish with flatbread, to soak up all those flavourful juices. If you want to get ahead, make the dal a day or two in advance; keep it covered in the fridge and warm through gently before serving. If you go down this route, leave the cod in the oil and curry powder mix for only 30 minutes or so, because fish breaks down if it's left to marinate for too long. Leftover dal is delicious, so there's no harm in scaling up and having too much. Serves four. 100g yellow split peas, soaked in water overnight 1 large banana shallot, peeled and quartered About 10 sticks (70g) lemongrass (size can vary, so check the weight), trimmed and cut into small chunks 4cm piece ginger, peeled and cut into small chunks 60ml olive oil, plus 2 tsp extra to serve 375ml vegetable stock 250ml coconut milk 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cut into 0.5cm chunks (270g net weight) 2 tsp medium curry powder 4 skinless and boneless cod fillets (about 120g each) Salt and black pepper 5 fresh (or frozen) kaffir lime leaves, stems removed ? tsp ground turmeric 120g Greek-style yoghurt 10g coriander leaves, roughly torn 1 lime, cut into four wedges, to serve Drain and rinse the split peas. Put the shallot, lemongrass and ginger in the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until very finely chopped.

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