I was commenting on a blog the other week and I observed that practically every Saturday I bookmark Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe column for the Guardian, although, given the rate at which I accumulate new things to cook and then singularly fail to cook them, the dishes seldom get made. Which is a shame because Ottolenghi writes about food that I really want to eat. I think I've mentioned his vegetarian book "Plenty" on here before and if you don't own it then I heartily recommend you go out and make it a part of your collection. It will convince even the most ardent carnivore in your life that you don't need meat to eat exceptional food.
This recipe comes from the original Ottolenghi cookbook which I bought D for his birthday last year. Foolishly, I didn't think to go through and photocopy the entire thing before I handed it over, so I don't know what the book as a whole is like, but this salsa was amazing. A-ma-zing. On Friday last we had it with tuna steaks but we were trying to conflate two dishes that didn't really want to be conflated. However, we enjoyed the salsa element so much that we decided to give it another go and allow it to be the star which is how we came to eat it one night with grilled lamb and wild rice. These are bold flavours that enjoy the companionship of red meat and a robust fish like tuna, but I honestly think you could serve it with chicken as well, perhaps in a wrap with a drizzle of yoghurt. Or, you could just eat it out of the bowl. Whatever. Just try it.
Incidentally, Mr Ottolenghi says that it benefits from being allowed to steep in the fridge for a few days. We concur. At the very least, prepare it for an hour before you wish to serve it. The ingredient quantities below should be taken as approximate - the only things that will impact on the points are the olive oil and sugar.
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 large, ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 large, ripe mango, peeled, stoned and cut into cubes
1 red chilli finely chopped
Tbsp grated root ginger (NB: we grate ours straight from the freezer with a Microplane which gives excellent results every time)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
Tbsp caster sugar
Makes approximately 6-8 servings (2 pro points per portion if 8)
Method: um, combine ingredients. Season, taste and adjust as required.