Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Celeriac purée with spiced cauliflower and quail’s eggs

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Celeriac purée:
60ml olive oil, plus 1 tbsp to serve
1 large onion, roughly diced (160g)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 large celeriac, peeled and cut roughly into 2cm pieces (600g)
500ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
coarse sea salt and black pepper

Spiced cauliflower:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced (160g)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely grated (650g)
2 tbsp finely diced preserved lemon skin
90g almonds, skin on, toasted and roughly chopped
50g parsley, roughly chopped

Quail’s eggs:
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
6 or 12 quail’s eggs

Ras el hanout is a North African blend of sweet and hot spices, finely ground. There’s no definitive list of the spices which are combined – hanout means ‘shop’ in Arabic and every shop has its own ‘top-of-the-shop’ variety – but it usually includes ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper and cinnamon. Ready-made varieties are widely available and generally fine, but feel free to add to them for your own top-of-the-shop creation. We find that we often need to add a bit more cinnamon when using ready-made varieties.

The celeriac purée works well as an alternative to hummus, if you want to make just this to snack on before a meal. With the additional elements, though, it’s a substantial starter or even a little meal in itself, served with some warm crusty bread or white pitta.

We like to fry the eggs here – the crispy edges of a fried egg work particularly well with the purée – but soft-boiled also works, if you prefer.

As with many of the dishes in this book, the main elements here can be made in advance, ready to be put together just before serving and, in this case, before the eggs are cooked. If you make the purée the day before, just cover it with cling film – actually touching the surface of the purée – to prevent it forming a skin. It’s better at room temperature rather than fridge-cold, so bring it out of the fridge at least half an hour before serving.

Serves 6

(p 7, NOPI The Cookbook)


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Perfect with

  1. Tahini

    So smooth and creamy that it can be spread on toast, this is in a different league to other brands



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