Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Cucumber and poppy seed salad from Ottolenghi

Whip up a Mediterranean-influenced dish from massively successful author-chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

  • Photograph: Richard Learoyd

    Cucumber and poppy seed salad from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

  • Cover photograph: Jonathan Lovekin

    Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Photograph: Richard Learoyd

Cucumber and poppy seed salad from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook


Welcome to Tiny Kitchen Recipes, a feature in which we ask chefs, writers and food bloggers in New York City and beyond to share a recipe with us. Always wallet-friendly, these creations are feasible whether you live to cook or recently stopped using your oven for shoe storage. 

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The U.S. has finally gained its own edition of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, the much-anticipated tome from British restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner, Sami Tamimi (the best-selling U.K. version was released in 2008). The authors grew up on opposite sides of Jerusalem, and now co-own a burgeoning empire of Ottolenghi restaurants in London that focuses on the flavors of their youth. This Sunday, October 20, Ottolenghi and Tamimi will speak with food writer Francis Lam at the 92nd Street Y about the new release (7pm; $36).

Like much of their cuisine, the recipe below is vegetable-forward with Mediterranean influences. The cookbook offers the following tips for prepping and pairing the dish: "If you are using a large cucumber in this salad, halve it along its center and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seedy core, which is full of water. Quartered radishes make a good colorful addition. Serve with other salads on a meze plate, take with you on a picnic, or eat with roast lamb or pork." We also think it could pair well with a steak.

Cucumber and poppy seed salad from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Ingredients:

- 6 small cucumbers (about 1 lb)
- 2 mild red chilies, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
- 4 tbsp white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp superfine sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers at an angle, so you end up with pieces 3⁄8 inch thick and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the flavors gently into the cucumbers. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar and salt according to the quality of the cucumbers. The salad should be sharp and sweet, almost like a pickle.

If not serving immediately, you might need to drain some liquid off later. Adjust the seasoning again afterward.

Serves 4

Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


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