Start the day with a bang: Yotam Ottolenghi’s big weekend breakfast recipes

Theres no escaping the fact that a serious breakfast is more work than a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast, but every now and then, it pays to have a real blow-out

This is the second of two columns on serious breakfasts and, as I said last week, the recipes are unapologetic about the effort needed to get them on the table. But we can keep alive the myth of the lazy weekend breakfast, so long as were organised. Much of the chopping and cooking can be done ahead: the turnip cake, for instance, can be made up to the point before it gets sliced, while the fritter batter and the fruit for the granola can be made and kept in the fridge overnight. In fact, I can pretty much hear Easy Like Sunday Morning playing already.

Spring greens and dried Iranian lime frittata

Courgette flowers, cut in half vertically and pressed into the mix pre-baking, make a fabulous flourish, but this is still beautiful without. It just needs a green salad and crusty bread to top things off. Serves six.

60ml olive oil
400g new potatoes, cut into 0.5cm-thick rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g baby courgettes, cut on an angle into 0.5cm-thick slices
5 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
100g peas, fresh or frozen, blanched
6 eggs
120ml double cream
1 tsp dried Iranian lime powder
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
60g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces
15g mint leaves, roughly shredded
30g basil leaves, roughly shredded
20g barberries, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drained

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. On a medium-high flame, heat the oil in a large saute pan for which you have a lid. Fry the potatoes with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper for seven minutes, until cooked and golden-brown. Add the courgettes and onions, fry for two minutes, until starting to soften, then stir in the peas and turn off the heat.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, dried lime, lemon zest, half a teaspoon of salt and lots of pepper, then stir in the feta, herbs, barberries and fried veg. Spoon into a high-sided, 20cm x 25cm oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, and bake for 25 minutes, until golden-brown. Cut into six slices and serve hot or warm. 

Turnip cake

Youll need to make a trip to a Chinese food store for this. I adore turnip cake, but the glutinous texture isnt everyones favourite way to start the day. The cake (actually made with a type of radish) is traditionally cut into cubes and stir-fried with egg noodles, chilli, red pepper, bean sprouts and eggs, but I just sear it in oil. Serves six.

20g dried shrimp
1 Chinese sausage, cut into 1-2mm-thick slices
20g dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 100ml boiling water for 10 minutes
60ml groundnut oil, plus extra to grease

2 spring onions, finely sliced
270g Thai white rice flour (the non-glutinous sort)
1 tsp caster sugar
Salt and ground white pepper
1 large daikon, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
Chilli oil or savoury chilli sauce, to serve

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7, and oil a 12cm x 25cm loaf tin.

Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the shrimp. Dry-fry for two to three minutes, stirring, until starting to colour, then roughly chop and mix with the sausage.

Drain the mushrooms through a fine sieve over a bowl, to retain the soaking liquor, and squeeze as dry as possible. Finely slice the mushrooms, then add to the shrimp bowl.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high flame, then fry the shrimp, sausage and mushrooms for two minutes, until golden-brown. Take off the heat, stir in the onions, then tip into a bowl.

Put the rice flour, sugar and 550ml water in a bowl, add a teaspoon and a quarter of salt and an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper, and whisk to a smooth, thick batter.

Return the pan to a medium-high heat, add the daikon and mushroom water, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring, until the liquid evaporates (if the daikon produces lots of water, this may take a few minutes longer). Add the shrimp mix and the batter, stir until the mixture thickens, then spoon into the oiled tin. Put the tin in a slightly larger, high-sided oven tray, pour boiling water into the tray to come halfway up the sides of the tin, then cover tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and set aside the cake, still in its tray, to cool and set. Run a knife around the edge, flip out on to a board and cut into 12 2cm-thick slices.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high flame. Fry four slices of cake for three to four minutes in total, turning them halfway, until golden-brown on both sides, and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining cake and oil, and serve hot with chilli alongside. 

Smoky sweetcorn and tofu fritters

These are so positively free-from (no dairy, no gluten) that Im tempted to serve them with a fried egg to make up for it; for the more virtuous among us, avocado is another good combo. Theyre best served hot, crisp and straight from the pan. If you cant get fresh kaffir lime leaves, use a teaspoon of finely grated lime zest; and if you cant get chipotle chilli flakes, blitz a dried chipotle or ancho chilli, or increase the smoked paprika to three-quarters of a teaspoon. Serves four.

350g silken tofu, broken into 2cm pieces
200g frozen sweetcorn, defrosted (or freshly shaved corn from the cob)
tsp chipotle chilli flakes
tsp sweet smoked paprika
tsp ground turmeric
5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, woody stems discarded, then blitzed to about 1 tsp of powder (or just finely chopped) 
1 tsp maple syrup
3 tbsp rice flour (not the glutinous type)
10g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
4 spring onions, finely sliced
70g french beans, trimmed and cut into 2mm-thick rounds
60ml sunflower oil
4 lime wedges, to serve
Salt

Put all the ingredients except the beans, oil and lime wedges, in a food processor with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, blitz until most (but not all) of the sweetcorn is broken up, then stir in the sliced beans.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high flame. Carefully add four tablespoons of the corn mixture, otherwise the oil will spit, and flatten down so that each fritter is 6-7cm wide and 1.5cm thick. Fry for a minute or two, until golden-brown on the base (its important to let them crisp up completely, otherwise theyll break when you flip them; if that still happens, add a little extra rice flour). Turn the fritters over carefully, fry for another minute or two, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep warm while you repeat with the remaining mix, adding an extra tablespoon of oil for each batch. Serve warm with and the lime wedges alongside.

Pecan and coconut granola with roasted rhubarb and blackcurrants

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghis pecan and coconut granola with roasted rhubarb and blackcurrants Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

The amount of fruit and yoghurt here is enough for six servings, but the granola mix itself makes about 1kg, so youll have plenty for many breakfasts to come (it will keep for a couple of weeks in a container).

450g jumbo rolled oats
120g quinoa flakes
4 tbsp black sesame seeds
370g honey
110ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
Salt
90g flaked dried coconut (coconut chips)
150g pecan halves, roughly chopped
720g Greek yoghurt, to serve

For the fruit
450g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 4cm-long pieces
3.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
Shaved strips of 1 small orange
100g caster sugar
350g blackcurrant (frozen and defrosted is fine, if need be)

Heat the oven to 140C/285F/gas mark 1. Mix the oats, quinoa and sesame seeds in a bowl.

Put the honey, oil and vanilla in a saucepan, add three tablespoons of water and a half-teaspoon of salt, and warm gently, stirring, until the honey dissolves. Pour over the oat mix, then stir with a wooden spoon and spread out in a thin layer over two large oven trays lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 25 minutes, until light-golden, stir in the coconut and pecans, and bake for 15 minutes more. Dont worry if it seems slightly soft at this point: the granola goes crunchy as it cools. Set aside to cool, then serve as below (or store in an airtight container).

For the fruit, turn the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Mix the rhubarb, ginger, orange peel, sugar and 60ml cold water in a large bowl, then spread out on a large oven tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 15 minutes, until the rhubarb starts to soften. Gently stir in the blackcurrants, and cook for another eight minutes, just until they are starting to burst. Take out the tray and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

To serve, divide the yoghurt between six bowls. Spoon about 60g granola on each portion, followed by some of the fruit and the juices.

Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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