Monday, December 18, 2006

Sformato di spinaci

It is often said that children don't like spinach but that has never been true for me, I've loved it as long as I can remember. I do admit that nowadays I mostly rely on the frozen variety (except for baby spinach in salads), I just can't seem to find the time - and patience to be honest - to wash and trim a huge pile of spinach to end up with a decent serving for two.

I got the recipe for this post's sformato* di spinaci (spinach pudding) from Joyce Goldstein's Cucina Ebraica, flavors of the Italian jewish kitchen. It's an amazing book, not only brimming with fantastic recipes but also their history, I was amazed to find out that many of my favourites of the Italian kitchen were jewish dishes, many of them originating in the Middle East.

The sformato is quite a lot of work, but I don't suppose an italian jewish housewife in the olden days would consider time an issue when putting together a dairy menu for a sabbath with the family. I say follow her lead if you can! The pudding was light and fluffy, yet rich-tasting with the classic combination of spinach (of course), eggs and cheese. Serve it as a main course with a simple tomato sauce or sautéd mixed mushrooms.

Sformato di spinaci (serves 2)

  • 300g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • some fine breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1dl milk and 0.5dl vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
Generously butter your tin/gratin dish. I used a pie tin of 20x20x3cm, just a tick smaller would be even better. Spinkle with breadcrumbs to evenly coat the dish. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until soft but not browned. Add the spinach and sauté for another minute, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and stir until all the mixture is smooth. When it bubbles, add the milk and broth and stir vigourously. Add the parmesan and let cook until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add to the spinach, mix and let cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and stir. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then carefully fold into the spinach. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven (220°) for about twenty minutes or until firm. Let rest for a few minutes before unmolding.

* Sformato means unmolded in Italian.

1 comment:

wheresmymind said...

Looks so much better than the gross Kale my wife made last night ;)