PSA: If you haven’t bought Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage’s new book Flavour yet, you are missing out! Beautifully photographed and wonderfully written, with so many recipes that I immediately want to sink my cooking teeth into, I cannot wait to keep busy with this for a while! Started off today with this: Charred Peppers & Fresh Corn Polenta with Soy-Cured Yolk. So delicious! Bright and freshly flavored with a sweet tang and yet ultimately comforting at the same time, this is an instant classic. The soy cured yolk was a total revelation! Silky smooth with a lovey umami punch, it pulled the whole dish together.
I plan on living on this for the rest of the year, thank you very much!
5 tbsp (70 ml) soy sauce
4 eggs (good-quality, rich-yolk)
12 small mixed red, orange and yellow Romano peppers (stalks left on 1.1kg)
1 head of garlic (top fifth cut off to expose the cloves, plus 2 extra cloves, skin left on and crushed with the side of a knife)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
15 thyme sprigs (a small handful, 10 g)
1 lemon (finely grate the zest to get ½ tsp, then finely shave the remaining skin to get 5 strips)
4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil (plus extra to serve)
1 tsp (5 g) basil (finely shredded)
salt and black pepper
4 sweetcorn cobs small (kernels shaved off (500g), or 500g frozen corn kernels, defrosted)
3/4 cup (180 g) greek yoghurt
1/3 cup (40 g) grated parmesan (finely grated, plus extra to serve)
2/3 cup (100 g) polenta (quick-cook)
Put the soy sauce into a medium bowl. Separate the eggs, carefully adding the yolks to the bowl of soy sauce. Reserve the whites for another recipe. Leave the yolks to cure for a minimum of 1 hour, and up to 2 hours, very gently turning them halfway with a spoon. Don't cure the yolks for any longer - you want them to be soft and oozy.
Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
Place the peppers on a large, parchment-lined baking tray, spread out as much as possible. Sprinkle the whole garlic bulb with a little salt and pepper and wrap it tightly in foil. Place on the tray with the peppers and roast for 20 minutes, then carefully turn the peppers over and roast the peppers and garlic for another 10 minutes, until the peppers are cooked through and blackened in places. We like the skin, but if you prefer to peel the peppers, do this now. Place the peppers in a large bowl with the crushed raw garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, thyme, lemon strips, oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Once cool enough to handle, unwrap the cooked garlic and squeeze the cloves out into the bowl with the peppers, discarding the papery skin. Gently mix the peppers, keeping the stalks intact, then cover with a large plate and leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight.
For the polenta, put the corn into a food processor and blitz to a wet paste. Transfer to a large sauté pan on a medium heat with the butter, yoghurt, Parmesan, 1¾ teaspoons of salt and 2,5 cups (600 ml) of water. Cook for 7 minutes, then turn the heat down as low as it will go and sprinkle in the polenta, stirring continuously to avoid lumps for another 5 minutes, until cooked.
Divide the polenta between four bowls, then top with three peppers each, drizzling some of the marinade over, but avoiding the aromatics. Carefully lift a yolk out of the soy sauce and place on the polenta, next to the peppers. Finish with a good drizzle of oil, along with the basil, lemon zest, a sprinkle of salt, a good grind of pepper and some freshly grated Parmesan.
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, featured in Ottolenghi FLAVOUR,
Published by Ebury Press