Here’s a fabulous summer fruits recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Ottolenghi Flavour (Penguin Random House). Compiled with with co-writer Ixta Belfrage, it breaks down the key factors essential for delightful vegetable and fruit dishes. Colourful and delicious, it is typical of the wonderful recipes produced by this international superstar chef.
This display of the season’s best can double up as a light dessert or as a brunch centrepiece. You can make your own labneh but it requires draining the yoghurt for a good 24 hours, or you can make everything easily on the day using shopbought labneh or some Greek-style yoghurt mixed with a little double cream. The berries you use are totally up to you, depending on what’s good and not too expensive. You can use fewer types, or some frozen berries, if you like, especially for those which get blitzed in the recipe. You’ll make more oil than you need; store it in a glass jar to drizzle over salads or lightly cooked vegetables.
900g sheep’s yoghurt, or cow’s yoghurt as an alternative
1/2 tsp salt
100ml good-quality olive oil
10g lemon thyme sprigs, plus a few extra picked thyme leaves to serve
1 orange: finely shave the skin to get 6 strips
300g strawberries, hulled and halved lengthways (or quartered if they’relarger)
50g caster sugar
1 lime: finely grate the zest to get 1 tsp, then juice to get 1 tbsp
150g cherries, pitted
1. Put the yoghurt and salt into a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Line a colander with a piece of muslin large enough to hang over the sides and place the colander over a bowl. Transfer the yoghurt to the muslin and fold over the sides to completely encase the yoghurt. Place a heavy weight over the muslin (a few tins or jars will do), and transfer to the fridge to drain for at least 24 hours (and up to 48).
2. Meanwhile, put the oil into a small saucepan, for which you have a lid, on a medium heat. Heat gently for about 7 minutes, or until tiny air bubbles form. Remove from the heat, add the thyme and orange strips, then cover with a lid and leave to infuse, ideally overnight, though half an hour will also do the job.
3. The next day, put 50g of blackberries, 100g of raspberries and 100g of strawberries into the small bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and lime juice and blitz until completely smooth. Put all the remaining berries and the cherries into a large bowl along with the blitzed fruit and gently combine. You can serve it straight away or leave it in the fridge for a few hours, bringing it back to room temperature before serving.
4. Spread the labneh out on a large platter. Spoon over the berries, then sprinkle with the lime zest. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the infused oil, along with a couple of the orange strips and the extra picked thyme leaves.
Extracted from Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press, RRP $55). Available now from bookstores and online retailers.
Photography: Jonathan Lovekin