Ottolenghi is partly responsible for rebooting home cooks’ idea of what’s possible in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to vegetables. His first book to hit US shores, Plenty, is an ode to produce. The recipes might seem complicated on paper (even he pokes fun at himself for his enormous ingredient lists), but try one and it’s clear you can’t mess with the guy. When it comes to vegetables, he just knows what’s best.
For many cooks, Plenty was a gateway drug, unlocking a world of spices and pantry staples common in Middle Eastern kitchens — za’atar and tahini, nigella seeds and pomegranate molasses, labne and harissa — and a world of possibilities for colorful, abundant, vegetable-based cooking (aka our jam). If you’re sticking a toe into Ottolenghi waters for the first time, Plenty and Jerusalem (more on that below) are the way to go.