Ottolenghi Take 1 – Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese & Hazelnuts

Beet Dip

Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese & Hazelnuts

There was one cookbook that Santa didn’t bring me, so I bought it for myself. It’s Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem which arrived on Friday. Without even cooking any recipes inside, the book is a feast for the senses, a virtual trip to the Middle East (without the threat of violence). The photos are luxurious visuals of the souks, the food, local people. And the prose provides a narrative that is as engaging to read as the recipes are to cook.

I want to try everything in this cookbook, and began with the Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts. Beets, goat cheese, greek yogurt, hazelnuts…what isn’t to love about that combination? What’s not to love are beets that taste like dirt. While I know a lot of people despise beets, I really, really like them. Except when they have an exceptionally basementy, dirty taste, as though the very soil that they grew in has permeated the beet flesh. And that was the problem with my beets when I made the dip.

The earthy taste was further accentuated by the 1 T of za’atar that the recipe called for. (Chef Ottolenghi – Is it really 1 tablespoon? That seems like a lot.) Za’atar is a middle eastern spice mixture that includes the spice itself (tasting somewhat like oregano) as well as some dried sumac and sesame seeds. This combination, particularly the sumac, gives it a grassy flavor.

It was disappointing because I was soo excited about this dish. It should have been amazing, not all dirty-beety. It was definitely a product issue not a recipe issues. But still. I was hungry, and looking forward to eating it. Bummer. I’ll have ot try it again. With better beets.

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  1. […] salad and make something from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book from the rest. But probably not Za’atar Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese.  (Or maybe I should because it has to be better than the batch I made. It’s […]

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