5 Things We Learned From the New Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Cookbook

As ‘Extra Good Things’ proves, going big, bold, yet surprisingly simple has never been so easy and so, so good.

October 26, 2022
Photo by Elena Heatherwick

Cracking open Extra Good Things, the new cookbook from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen team and Noor Murad, is essentially promising yourself an amazing, foolproof dish. We were first introduced to the OTK—and Murad—last fall with Shelf Love; a book filled with all the tips and tricks we needed to feel confident about cleaning out our pantries and refrigerators in the most delicious way. Unsurprisingly, the cookbook sequel does not disappoint. (Is this the OTK cinematic universe? Here for it!)

1. Pickled eggplant is the dish we didn’t know we needed

In the funk section, burnt eggplant pickle—a chutney spiced with fenugreek, ginger, cumin, and turmeric—comes together over a bed of garlicky yogurt, and we’ve never wanted to dive into anything faster. Cooked over open flame until blackened, both the skin and the soft inner flesh is used to create this dynamic dish, while the bright acidity of apple cider vinegar both amplifies and soothes the smoky notes of the charred bits. Which leads to our next point…

2. Sometimes burnt is better

Burnt eggplant, burnt lemon, burnt honey: This book does not shy away from using a little extra fire to provide bold flavor. Though the ingredients are less “oh no I forgot the sauce was on the stove” and more “slightly more cooked than I’d usually be comfortable with,” going just a step beyond maillard reaction (or, caramelization) yields a pleasant bitterness great for cutting through richness (think: “asparagus with labneh, brown butter, and burnt lemon”) and adding an extra layer of acidity.

3. Nailing just one dessert can be the key to a successful dinner

It’s so easy when trying to wow a dinner party crowd or impress a new partner to want to try something totally new and intricate because it has to be the best. thing. ever. To that, the OTK simply says: don’t. Instead, become familiar with basic pastry techniques, which can then lead to building more complex desserts. Nailing a simple crème anglaise—the aqueous sister of pastry cream—can lead to the base for the best ice cream of your life. Mastering the chewy meringue can bring you to a roulade layered with every combination of your dreams (the OTK suggests pears and cardamom).

4. Don’t skimp on the sauce

There’s an entire section in this book dedicated to sauce, as it should be. Specifically “a whole lotta sauce,” which we wholeheartedly support. From tamarind dressing to peanut gochujang, to egg remoulade (served with crispy bites of tuna croquettes), there are 20 sauce offerings—like a viscous buffet—all with dish pairings or folded into another recipe. Each serves a higher purpose, from a dipper to a moist layer in a parmesan pie.

5. A small twist can breathe new life into a classic:

We’re all familiar with the myth, the lore, the chain restaurant legend that is the “bloomin’ onion.” From the OTK, here’s that dish, but with a refreshed update.

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Emily Ziemski

Written by: Emily Ziemski

Food Editor @ Food52