"We've become a little bit famous for what we do with vegetables," says the Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

Sami Tamimi, his Palestinian business partner, nods humbly, drink in hand. Together they've turned half the world on to kale salads and the transformative power of a well-placed dollop of yogurt.

Their latest cookbook release in the U.S.

Through their London restaurant, shops and best-selling books, they've become champions of a Middle Eastern approach to vegetables that's confidently modern, assertively spiced, pretty looking and always, always delicious.

The duo stopped by our Test Kitchen recently to talk about the release of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook ($35), their first U.K. book, which has finally been released in the States.

In place of softball questions, we tossed vegetables. No, really; we actually threw produce at them. They gamely caught our lobs, and then riffed about how to make the most of your vegetables, Ottolenghi-style (watch the video).

Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi

On grilling
Yotam: We love char-grilling because you get the most flavor left in the vegetable. Kohlrabi, sweet potato--put it on the grill and you've got smokiness and tons of flavor. We grill our beets. 

On go-to vegetable companions
Yotam: It's almost always appropriate to use yogurt. It's almost always appropriate to use lemon juice.
Sami: Yogurt, tahini, nuts, lots of herbs--you want to play on the sweet and sour and salty.

On spice
Yotam: The trick is to come up with things that really let the vegetable come through. If you take a piece of steak, it doesn't need anything else. But with a vegetable you always have to give it that little kick.
Sami: But not to kill it, not to cover it with other flavors.