Yotam Ottolenghi’s savoury plum recipes | Food (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Plums add depth to dishes when pickled and tossed through a salad or served with spiced chicken

Yotam Ottolenghi

Sat 25 Aug 2018 09.29 BST

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My neighbours’ plum tree, with only a couple of its branches hanging over our garden, still blesses us every year with a windfall of fruit. The free fruit never makes it to our kitchen, though – we devour it as soon as it hits the ground, my sons rating each one for its juiciness, as if all plums must naturally take part in this universal competition. Ripe plums figure heavily in the cakes and puddings that I make at this time of the year, but today’s recipes put them at the heart of the meal, where they add a freshness that is perfect for late-summer cooking.

Pickled plum, red onion and chilli

I serve this sharp and fruity pickle alongside rich meat, such as pork or duck, or with fried tofu and sticky rice. I also love it mixed with fresh fruit and leaves as in the watercress and pink grapefruit salad below. The pickle is good to eat as soon as it has cooled down, but it will taste much better after a few days, and it’ll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three weeks. Rhubarb isn’t always easy to come by at this time of the year, but you can swap it for extra plums or other stone fruit.

Prep 20 min
Cook 5 min
Cool 1-2 hr
Makes 750g

5 black or red firm plums (400g), cut into 1cm wedges
220g rhubarb, sliced on an angle into 5mm pieces
½ red onion, thinly sliced (100g)
3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced (40g)
4cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned (30g)
100g caster sugar
100ml red-wine vinegar
100ml malt vinegar
1 tsp black mustard seeds
3 cloves
3 bay leaves
½ tsp allspice berries
1 tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed

Put the plums, rhubarb, onion, chilli and ginger in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat the sugar, vinegars and 200ml water in a medium saucepan on a medium-high flame until the sugar has dissolved. Add the spices and half a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid and spices over the fruit, mix together well and set aside, covered loosely, for one to two hours, until cool.

Pour the liquid and fruit into two large, clean jars, seal well and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grapefruitand watercress salad with pickled fruit

Half the colours of the rainbow are in this salad, with flavours to match: sharp, sweet, fruity, herby and spicy. The pickled plum adds a heady depth to the mixture. Serve it as a starter, with dolcelatte dotted on top, or alongside a meaty main.

Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

1 pink grapefruit
1 medium red chicory (100g), leaves separated and cut in half lengthways
80g watercress
15g mint leaves, roughly shredded
5g dill (a few sprigs), roughly chopped
40g pumpkin seeds, toasted
200g pickled plum, rhubarb, red onion and chilli (see first recipe), drained

For the dressing
1½ tbsp fruit pickling liquid
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Use a small sharp knife to slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Cut down the sides, following its natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut between the membranes to remove the individual segments, then slice the segments in half, collecting a tablespoon of the juice for the dressing.

Put the grapefruit pieces in a large bowl with the chicory, watercress, herbs, pumpkin seeds and pickled fruit.

To make the dressing, pour the tablespoon of grapefruit juice into a small bowl, add the pickling liquid, oil, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Whisk together, pour over the salad, toss together gently and serve.

Chipotle-roasted chicken with plum and tarragon salad

For this rich summer roast, make sure your plums are ripe and sweet, but still firm, to balance the heat and acidity in the chicken. There’s very little work involved, but the chicken will definitely benefit from marinating overnight.

Prep 10 min
Marinate 1 hr +
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

8 chicken thighs (1.2kg), skin on and bone in, patted dry
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large whole dried chipotle chilli, roughly chopped
50ml olive oil
2 lemons – finely grate the zest of 1 and shave 3 strips of peel from the other
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 firm plums (360g), each cut into 8 wedges
15g tarragon leaves
20ml red-wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper

Add the chicken to a large bowl with the garlic, chilli, three tablespoons of oil, the lemon zest, a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Mix to combine, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour – preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Add the Worcestershire sauce to the bowl with the chicken, mix well, and then transfer to a 30cm x 20cm high-sided baking tray, skin side up. Roast for 15 minutes, baste, increase the temperature to 230C/450F/gas 8, and roast for another 20 minutes or so, until cooked through. Baste again halfway through so the chicken is crisp and a deep golden-brown.

Make the salad as close as you can to serving. Finely chop the strips of lemon peel and add to a bowl with the plums, tarragon, vinegar, the remaining teaspoon of oil, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Toss everything together and serve alongside the chicken.


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Yotam Ottolenghi’s savoury plum recipes | Food (2024)


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