From tahini peas to corn-stuffed peppers: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for frozen vegetables (2024)

In the height of summer, nothing beats fresh peas. Just picked, quickly podded and lightly cooked, they’re the essence of sweet summer wonderment. Ditto fresh sweetcorn, whose juicy cobs, decked out in their husks, are the guests no sunny-day barbecue can do without. But if they are not eaten pretty much within sight of the field where they were picked, their sweetness and tenderness quickly turns to starch and toughness. So, for the rest of the year – AKA reality – bags of frozen peas and sweetcorn are our friends. They’re frozen almost as soon as they’re picked, which means the conversion from sugar to starch, from tenderness to toughness, hasn’t yet started. And preserving them in their young, fresh, tender state lets us enjoy that sweetness long after the memories of summer eating have begun to fade.

Peas, tahini and za’atar (pictured above)

There’s always a bag of frozen peas in my freezer, ready to be tossed into salads or stews or blitzed into this easy meze. Use any mix of soft herbs you have to hand (dill and tarragon work well) and serve with crudites or warm pitta.

Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4-6 as a meze

500g frozen peas, defrosted
65g tahini
40g picked flat-leaf parsley
, roughly chopped
20g (5-6 tbsp) mint leaves
3 tbsp za’atar
2 lemons,
zest finely grated, to get 2 tsp, and juiced, to get 3 tbsp
105ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
40g breakfast radishes
(about 4), thinly sliced (on a mandoline, ideally)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on a slight angle

Put 50g of the peas in a medium bowl and set aside. Put the remaining peas in a food processor with the tahini, herbs, two tablespoons of za’atar, the lemon zest and juice, three tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper and blitz to a smooth paste. Spread out on a large plate and use the back of a spoon to make a shallow well in the centre.

Put the radishes and spring onions in the bowl of reserved peas, add a tablespoon of oil, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper and toss to coat and combine.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining one tablespoon of za’atar and last three tablespoons of oil. Drizzle this over the pea dip, then top with the pea and radish mixture and serve.

Mixed vegetable and potato fritters with harissa

From tahini peas to corn-stuffed peppers: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for frozen vegetables (1)

These are inspired by Moroccan maakouda, a fried potato street food snack. It’s usually stuffed into a sandwich with lots of harissa, although you can also serve it with yoghurt, to make it more kid-friendly. Serve warm or at room temperature: they won’t be as crisp once they’ve sat around for a bit, but they’ll still taste great.

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 20 min
Makes 16

2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks (500g net weight)
Salt and black pepper
250g frozen mixed vegetables
, steamed according to packet directions
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
10g (2-3 tbsp) flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar
1 egg
2 tsp lemon zest
30g plain flour
, for coating
700ml sunflower oil
, for deep frying

For the harissa dip
1½ tbsp rose harissa
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp runny honey
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp olive oil

For the batter
85g plain flour
40g corn flour
1¼ tsp instant dried yeast
, or 12g fresh yeast, roughly crumbled
⅔ tsp baking powder
⅔ tsp ground turmeric
135ml lukewarm water

Put the potatoes and two teaspoons of salt in a medium saucepan for which you have a lid, add enough water to cover by about 3cm, then bring to a boil on a medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, cover and leave to cook for eight minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain well, then, once they’re cool enough to handle, use a potato ricer to rice the potatoes into a large bowl (if you don’t have a ricer, use a masher).

While the potatoes are cooking, put the mixed vegetables, garlic and parsley in a food processor and pulse a few times, until finely chopped but not pureed. Add this to the mashed potato bowl, then mix in the cumin, egg, lemon zest, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper and refrigerate for 30 minutes, so the mix firms up slightly.

Whisk all the dip ingredients and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

Make the batter by whisking all the ingredients in a medium bowl, then leave to bubble up for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the 30g flour in a shallow bowl. Use your hands to make roughly 5cm-diameter, 40-45g patties out of the potato mixture – you should end up with about 16 patties, and don’t worry if they’re not perfect. Dip each patty into the flour to coat, shaking off the excess, and put on an oven tray.

Heat the sunflower oil in a medium-sized high-sided saute pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, and working one patty at a time, dip a patty into the batter to coat, then drop into the hot oil (don’t worry if there are scraggly bits of batter – this just adds to the look). Fry the patties in three batches, for about six or seven minutes each, until deeply golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a tray lined with kitchen paper and repeat with the remaining patties and batter.

Transfer the fritters to a large plate and serve hot with the harissa dip in a bowl alongside.

Creamed corn-stuffed peppers with pickled jalapeño

From tahini peas to corn-stuffed peppers: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for frozen vegetables (2)

To turn these cheesy, creamy peppers into a complete meal, serve with a big bowl of greens and/or some roast potatoes. Play around with the cheeses and spices, and use regular peppers if you can’t get romanos.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Serves 4 as a light lunch

1 jalapeño chilli, thinly sliced, seeds and all
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
250g frozen sweetcorn
, defrosted
100ml double cream
50g quick-cook polenta
3 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
1 egg
105ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
75g low-moisture mozzarella
, roughly grated
75g mature cheddar, roughly grated
4 medium romano peppers
2 onions
, peeled and each cut into 5 1cm rounds
10 sprigs (5g) fresh thyme
2½-3 tbsp (10g) fresh coriander, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the chopped jalapeño, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, mix to combine and dissolve the sugar, then set aside to pickle.

Put the corn, cream, polenta, two-thirds of the garlic, egg, a tablespoon of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper in a food processor, pulse to a very rough puree, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheeses.

Use a small, sharp knife to make a lengthways incision in the peppers – take care not to cut through the ends, and keep the stems intact. Use your fingers gently to remove and discard the pith and seeds, then stuff each pepper with the corn mixture. Put a tablespoon of oil in a large, cast-iron saucepan or saute pan, top with the onion rounds and thyme, to cover the base of the pan, and sprinkle over an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper.

Lay the stuffed peppers slit side up on top of the onions and drizzle over a tablespoon of oil. Season lightly, then pour 200ml of water into the pan, making sure not to pour it over the peppers. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn up the heat to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 and bake for 20 minutes more, until the peppers and onions are soft and nicely coloured.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining four tablespoons of oil with the coriander, remaining garlic, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper.

When the peppers are ready, transfer to a platter or shallow bowl, spoon over the coriander oil and pickled jalapeño and serve warm.

From tahini peas to corn-stuffed peppers: Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for frozen vegetables (2024)


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