Celeriac purée with spiced cauliflower and quail’s eggs

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Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully share their recipe for a North African inspired starter using the hot and sweet spice blend ras el hanout with the gentler, earthier flavours of cauliflower and celeriac. The main elements of this dish can be made in advance and the quail eggs added just before serving.

First published in 2015

Extracted from NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully. (Ebury Press, £28)

Photography by Jonathan Lovekin




Celeriac purée

Spiced cauliflower

Quail’s eggs


First make the celeriac purée. Place the 60ml of olive oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for 5–6 minutes, stirring often, until soft and starting to caramelise
Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for another minute before adding the celeriac. Fry for 8–10 minutes, stirring often, so that all sides are golden brown
Pour over the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the celeriac is cooked through
Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and transfer to a blender or food processor. Blitz to form a smooth purée before adding the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve
Put the oil for the spiced cauliflower into a large sauté pan and place on a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the ras el hanout and cook for another minute
Pour over 100ml of water and stir through for a minute before removing from the heat. Fold in the cauliflower, preserved lemon, almonds, half of the parsley and 1 teaspoon of salt and set aside to cool
When ready to serve, divide the purée between six plates. Drizzle half a teaspoon of oil over each portion, spread the cauliflower on top and sprinkle over the smoked paprika and remaining parsley
To fry the quail eggs, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the oil. When hot, crack each egg individually into the pan and fry for 30–60 seconds. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper, then place an egg or two on top of each portion of cauliflower and serve at once
First published in 2015

Yotam Ottolenghi is a cookery writer and chef-patron of the Ottolenghi delis and NOPI restaurant. Ramael Scully moved to NOPI as head chef when the restaurant opened in 2011.

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