Bonus: Watercress, Pistachio and Orange Blossom Salad

I know I already recently covered a recipe from Plenty, but consider this a bonus! I highly recommend this salad to all my friends with unruly herb gardens, as this recipe calls for a ton of fresh herbs.

I was so excited to find orange blossom water at Fiesta, the best grocery store for those hard to find ingredients. I also noticed they had gigantic jars of preserved lemons, which I really could have used in my Arabesque recipe from a few weeks ago!  Were we not planning to move in a few weeks, I would have bought a jar, but hauling them across the country seems silly when I’m sure there are plenty of places to find them in the Bay Area.

Know of any good uses for orange blossom water? Let me know!

The orange blossom water in the dressing is what really makes this salad. That, on top of the fragrant blend of herbs will really perk you up. For me, the smell takes me back to when I worked at an Indian hair removal salon in Soho.  After threading you, they’d apply orange blossom water to your face. I think it has some astringent properties, but I always enjoyed that the lovely smell would help you forget that you just had all the hair on your face ripped out by the follicle.  These days I think I’d rather just enjoy this salad from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.

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Eggplants O’Plenty

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Let me introduce you to my newest cookbook, Plenty.  My love for this cookbook knows no bounds, from the beautiful pictures on almost every page, to the pleasantly squishy cover.  The night it arrived for me in the mail I actually read it in bed before going to sleep.  I’ve never read a cookbook in bed before and it felt a little weird at first, but that’s how much I love this cookbook.

I first encountered Yotam Ottolenghi when Heidi Swanson featured his recipe for Eggplant and Mango with Soba Noodles on her blog.  Two things you should know about me: 1) I am absolutely crazy for eggplant. 2) I am absolutely crazy about putting fruit in savory dishes.  So eggplant and mango in a dish together?  Sold!  I tried it, I loved it, and I knew I had to learn more about this Ottolenghi character.  (By the way, his Eggplant & Mango recipe is on pg. 112 of Plenty.)

What else can I say about this cookbook?  He has an entire chapter devoted to eggplant.  His blurbs about each recipe are short and entertaining.  I should probably mention that while he is not a vegetarian, all of the recipes in this cookbook are vegetarian, but all can certainly be tweaked to differing tastes.  In his introduction he talks a bit about why he writes a vegetarian column despite the fact that he eats meat, and people’s different motivations for choosing more pragmatic diets.

For this recipe, Ottolenghi asks Italians to forgive him for swapping cilantro for the traditional basil in this dish.  I had a lot of the eggplant and salsa leftover after making this recipe, and so the next day I layered them with some mozzarella on good bread spread with pesto, and the cilantro and basil complemented each other very well.