February 8, 2022

Charred Zucchini With Warm Yogurt And Saffron Butter

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Try this Charred Zucchini With Warm Yogurt And Saffron Butter recipe from the new cookbook, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love.

This recipe is inspired by kousa b’laban, a Levantine dish of stuffed baby zucchini cooked in yogurt. In this simplified version the yogurt sauce and broiled zucchini are cooked separately, then served with a quick saffron butter to spoon on top. There’s a bit of an art to cooking yogurt without having it curdle; stabilizers such as cornstarch and egg yolk tend to do the trick, as does cooking the yogurt on moderate heat, stirring continuously and gently warming through without boiling. The result: a silky-smooth and tangy sauce, great for these zucchini but also with other grilled veggies, fatty meats, or even as a sauce for pasta.


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads, roughly crumbled
  • 4 small, pale green or regular zucchini, tops trimmed slightly and zucchini halved lengthwise (1 lb 5 oz/600g)
  • 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp/300g Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp dried mint
  • ¾ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 ½ tbsp mint leaves
  • ½ lemon
  • salt and black pepper


Yield: Serves 2-4

  1. Preheat the oven broiler to high.
  2. Put the butter and saffron into a small saucepan on medium heat. When the butter has melted, set aside to infuse.
  3. Place the zucchini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, ⅓ teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of pepper. Arrange them cut side up and broil for 15–20 minutes, until nicely charred and softened.
  4. Toward the last 10 minutes of broiling time, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water until smooth, then add the yogurt, garlic, dried mint, the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk to combine, then transfer to a large, nonstick sauté pan on medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly and warmed through. Do not let the sauce boil, or it will split.
  5. Transfer the warm yogurt sauce to a plate with a lip and top with the zucchini, broiled side up. Spoon the saffron butter over the top, then sprinkle with the coriander seeds and mint leaves. Squeeze the lemon half over everything and serve right away.

Make it your own: No saffron? Use a pinch of turmeric instead.


Excerpted from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad. Copyright © 2021 Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad. Photography by Elena Heatherwick. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.