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A Simple Taste of Spring with Yotam Ottolenghi

Posted by Sara on Mar 22, 2019


Creating our new monthly Cook the Book series has been an exciting experience for me as the curriculum developer at The Chopping Block. It has given me the opportunity to learn and gain inspiration from talented chefs near and far, and further develop and grow in my role.

In our Cook the Book classes, you’ll learn how to prepare recipes from a different cookbook each month in our kitchens. These classes will give you the opportunity to dive into the cuisines, flavors, methods and techniques of well-known cookbooks, both local and international, that are dear to our hearts and inspire our culinary point of views.

In the month of April, we are featuring one of my favorite cookbook authors and chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. He wrote the popular cookbooks Jerusalem and Plenty, and now has a new book called Ottolenghi Simple, which features approachable recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern-inspired flavors. The recipes in this book really speak to my culinary perspective in that they feature bright, fresh and complex flavors, but are approachable in that they focus on quality ingredients and straightforward techniques.  

One of Yotam's recipes featured in this class is Pea, Za'atar, and Feta Fritters. Everything about the title of this recipe is right up my alley, so I naturally has to make the recipe at home, and it exceeded my expectations! Not only was it approachable in its execution, it was beyond delicious. Each bite screamed SPRING! These crunchy fritters are characterized as SIME in his book, an acronym that stands for: short on time, 10 ingredients or less, make ahead and easier than you think.


Pea, Za'atar, and Feta Fritters

1 pound, 2 ounces frozen peas, defrosted

4 1/2 ounces ricotta

3 large eggs, beaten

1 lemon, zested

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons za'atar (see note, below)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup mint leaves, chiffonade

7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

About 3 cups sunflower or canola oil 


1. Place the peas in a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly crushed, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta, eggs, lemon zest, salt and pepper.


2. Add the za'atar, flour and baking powder. Stir until just combined, and then gently fold in the mint and feta, making sure you don't break up the feta too much.


3. Heat the oil in a heavy pot until it reaches 350º on a deep fry thermometer.


4. Using two spoons, make quenelles (footballs) of the batter, and carefully drop into the hot oil. Tip: Fry the fritters in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan.


Fry the fritters, turning them occasionally, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using a skimmer, transfer the fritters to a rack set over a sheet tray. Keep in a warm oven while frying the remaining fritters.


Note: Za'atar is a Middle Eastern herb and spice blend containing oregano, thyme, cumin, coriander and sumac.

Adapted from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth (Ten Speed Press, 2018).


Join one of our Chopping Block instructors on April 24th at our Lincoln Square location for a fun class celebrating the food, flavors and techniques from Ottolenghi Simple.   

Sign up for Cook the Book: Ottolenghi's Simple

Topics: fritter, Recipes, ottolenghi, cook the book

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