Throughout Italy and Greece, dried bread is common – bread that has been baked, sliced, then baked again until very very dry. The most loved use of this bread, called Dakos or Paximadia in Greece and Friselle in Italy, is in salads where the juice of the tomatoes and oil and vinegar dressing soak into the bread, softening it and adding the flavours of Summer. They can also be used like a bruschetta as a base for a variety of Mediterranean toppings.
For the last couple of years, black garlic has been the thing – slowly fermented until black, the garlic has the taste of parmesan, tamarind and molasses It is gorgeous. Mostly mashed or pureed into other dishes, it is quite versatile, if not an expensive addition to all sorts of dishes including soups, simmered dishes and dressings. Or just spread on some toast.
Ottolenghi took a while to warm to black garlic, but several recipes feature in his books – one absolutely gorgeous one in Nopi, and this one – both with eggplants that have been roasted. In this recipe, from Plenty More, the roasted eggplant slices are drizzled with a yoghurt-black garlic sauce, which is then topped with crispy chilli rings and garlic slices, before being liberally sprinkled with herbs. It is delicious. Of course.
We are cooking our way through Plenty More as our project for the year. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
Don’t have any black garlic? See the Nopi post for substitutions that work very well.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. As mentioned, we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian or Telegraph columns.
Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.