Cooking Club: Week 42


This week, we’re cooking from the most recent cookbook by chef Yotam Ottolenghi - Simple. He has a unique way with flavors, plays with the traditions of old and new, and his reputation proceeds him. These recipes are wonderful. It is blasphemy that I changed up Ottolenghi recipes, buuuuut had to make some swaps based on what I could find and because I like the recipes here to be accesible. 

I go to some market, most days, and I refuse to chase down ripe plums if they aren’t wherever I am that day. Giving yourself permission for swaps and trusting your intuition with recipes will cut out stress around them. No plums? Peaches are fine. Don’t like salmon? Use a different fish! I am a firm believer that you learn by doing and something you mess things up, but that means you’ll do it better next time. We ate a LOT of really spicy dinners before I understood the power of red pepper flakes :)

Wild salmon is in season now, so you should be able to find fresh filets versus the previously frozen. I usually buy ours at Costco and plan to have friends over that evening as the portions are generally large. That, or split the filet with my mom. Whole Foods or a local fish-monger should have it in stock now too. It turns out better than previously frozen for a pan-sear, and I’ve read too many articles to eat the farmed stuff. I know it is more expensive - good quality animal proteins always are - so we compensate by eating vegetarian other nights. Anyway, fish spoils quickly, so plan to cook it the day you buy it. 

I think you’ll be surprised by how quick all of these come together. Your prep-ahead list this week is short, because these recipes, as per the title of the cookbook, are simple. 

1-hr. Prep

- Make the caper relish
- Peel and chop vegetables for the soup
- Roast the cauliflower for Recipe #2


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I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.

Your List i

Zucchini, pea + basil soup Roasted cauli, pom, + herb salad Pan seared salmon w/ caper relish Peach + berry friand



Meat + Dairy

recipe 01: Zucchini, pea basil soup

serves 6

He calls for an entire head of garlic, but I tried it with about 4 big cloves and half a yellow onion, as that’s what I had, and it was lovely. I also like things mildly spicy, and put two slices of jalapeño in with the zucchini because I had one laying around. 

This soup packs a whole lot of green vegetables into one bowl, so it leaves you with the light kind of fullness I desire in warmer months.

If you are not dairy-free, a nub or two of butter stirred in at the end would help make it a bit more…delicious. 


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: All vegetables may be chopped in advance but this one comes together in under 30 minutes.

Use it Twice: Reheat or freeze any leftovers.

Kid Friendly: Skip the feta, make an easy grilled cheese and use the soup as more of a dip.

Dairy Free: skip the cheese and maybe use some green olives or chopped, toasted walnuts on top for richness.


4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
6-7 cloves of garlic
5 zucchini, chopped into 1” slices (about 8 cups chopped)
Sea salt and pepper
1 qt. vegetable or chicken stock
1-2 cups water
1 lb./16 oz. frozen peas
2 cups, loosely packed, basil leaves
7-oz. block of feta, broken into pieces
Zest + juice of 1 lemon


In a large Dutch-oven or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the whole garlic cloves and fry them for about 2 minutes. Stirring frequently. Add the zucchini, generous teaspoon of salt, plenty of pepper and fry for another 3 minutes until they begin to brown. Pour in the stock and 1 cup of water. Bring it to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes until the zucchini are soft but still bright green. 

Add the peas, stir, and cook for one minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil and let it all cool just a minute. Use an immersion blender to blitz the soup until smooth and vibrant green. Taste for salt and pepper. 

When ready to serve, spoon the soup into bowls and top with a generous crumble of feta and lemon zest. Squeeze in a little lemon juice too. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pepper. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat i
    17 g
  • carbs i
    17 g
  • protein
    11 g

recipe 02: Roasted cauli, pom, + herb salad

serves 4

I was skeptical when I saw he uses half raw, and half roasted cauliflower for this salad. I generally do not like raw cauli, makes my tum hurt, but I trusted him here and liked that it gave a gentle nudge of texture. We don’t have fresh poms near us, but I can still find the arils at Sprouts or Trader Joes. Another sweet/tart option like dried cherries will work here if you can’t find them, or I did dates for a dinner party last week and it was delicious!

You could add cooked lentils or a grilled protein of choice along here to fill it out. 


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: Roast the cauliflower in advance. Bring it to room temperature before using it in the salad.

Use it Twice: I would double this if you want leftovers!

Kid Friendly: I cooked some rice for them to fill it out. Cauliflower is a favorite here.

Carnivore Addition: Grill some marinated flank steak or fish to serve on the side.


1 large head of cauliflower (about 1.75 lbs.)
1 small yellow or red onion, sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin (or if you have za’atar, use that!)

Sea salt
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup tarragon (or cilantro if you can’t find it) roughly chopped
Few handfuls of whatever salad greens you have (arugula, baby kale, etc.)
Roughly 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 425’. 

Coarsely grate 1/3 of the cauli head on the large holes of a box grater and set it aside. Break the remaining cauliflower into florets, about 1” pieces, and add these to a rimmed baking sheet with any leaves and the onion. Toss everything with 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, cumin, and a few pinches of salt. Spread it in an even layer. Roast about 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until cooked and golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Add the roasted vegetables to the raw cauliflower. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, parsley, mint, tarragon, salad greens, pom seeds, pistachios, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. more salt, and toss gently to combine. Transfer to a platter to serve. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat i
    20 g
  • carbs i
    25 g
  • protein
    9 g

recipe 03: Pan-seared salmon w/ caper + green olive relish

serves 4

We served ours with a bit of rice and an easy green salad. If celery is not your jam, replace it with fennel, I may even prefer it. I served this over filets, but for a group, you could slow-roast a larger piece of fish, and spoon this over for serving. Let me know if you need details on that, I love big pieces of salmon for summer dinners.


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The relish can be made a few hours in advance. Just leave it covered, at room temperature.

Use it Twice: I spooned leftover relish over some Kite Hill “cream cheese” (or goat would be good!) to spread on crackers. You could use it to stuff chicken or just stir into some cooked grains.

Kid Friendly: Salmon is welcome, they don’t like olives and capers, and the relish is easily left off. Serve this with a side of rice, riced cauliflower or roasted potatoes for a another starch.


For the Relish

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup currants (or golden raisins)
1 1/ 2 cups fennel (or 4 stalks celery as published) small dice
1/4 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup capers plus 2 Tbsp. of their brine
1/3 cup large, pitted, green olives, roughly chopped
1 cup of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced

For the Salmon

4 salmon filets, about 6 oz. each
Avocado or extra virgin olive oil


Cover the currants or raisins in boiling water to soak. 

Season the salmon with salt, pepper and olive oil while you prepare the relish. 

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and pine nuts and fry about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown. Don’t walk away, they burn easily. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, olives, and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants/raisins and add these, along with the parsley, lemon zest and 4 Tbsp. lemon juice. Set aside. 

Put the remaining tablespoon of oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon filets, skin-side down and fry for 3-4 minutes until the skin is crisp. Decrease the heat to medium, flip the filets, and continue to fry another 2-4 minutes depending how well done you like your salmon. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Arrange the salmon on plates and spoon the relish on top. Serve with rice and dressed greens.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat i
    37 g
  • carbs i
    20 g
  • protein
    38 g

recipe 04: Peach + blackberry friand

serves 8

Use whatever stone fruit and berry you like or have. The original recipe calls for bay leaf in with the fruit, but I wasn’t feeling it. A tip of almond extract would be wonderful here too if you have it. This is very close to being gluten-free, and a GF all-purpose will sub in fine! 

You don’t have to serve this a la mode, but I don’t know a summer fruit dessert that is not better for it. 

Tips of The Week

Dairy-Free: Try a dairy-free butter option like Miyokos or Earth Balance.

Gluten-Free: You could use a GF blend in place of the all-purpose here.


6 oz. blackberries
4 ripe peaches (or plums), pits removed, cut in 1/4” wedges
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 egg whites
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled


Place the blackberries and peaches in a bowl with the vanilla, cane sugar, 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon and set aside. NO longer than 30 minutes or the fruit will get too juicy. 

Preheat the oven to 360’.

Mix the flour, powdered sugar, almond meal, remaining cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. 

Whisk the egg whites by hand until they begin to froth. Stir them into the flour mixture, along with the melted butter, until just combined. 

Grease (or line with parchment) a 9x9 or similar size baking dish (a cast iron pan works great too!). Tip the batter in and top evenly with fruit and juices. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and fruit is bubbling. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool. 

Serve with optional whipping cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat i
    19 g
  • carbs i
    37 g
  • protein
    6 g