SPINACH, MUSTARD GREENS & BAKED RICOTTA CHEESE

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Serves 4 as a side

This is the most simple and beautiful side to pork or beef, in fact, any main. I remember vividly the sublime taste and texture of a version of this I had for dinner at my friends’ Jill and Andrew from Glenhora heritage farm. Their version was made with all sorts of goodies from their market garden. At Pope Joan, I have done many a version at times but mainly with nettles and silverbeet (Swiss chard). So with that in mind, you can change the garden leaves to almost anything you have growing. Try it with the tops of beetroot (beets), broad (fava) bean and pea shoots or even warrigal greens.

Ingredients:

150 ML (5 fl oz) Olive Oil
300 G (10 1/2 oz) picked English Spinach leaves, washed, spun dry and roughly chopped
300 G (10 1/2 oz) Mustard Greens, washed, spun dry and roughly chopped
2 French Shallots (Eschalots), thinly sliced
1 Garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon of freshley grated Nutmeg
1 pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 big pinch of fine Sea Salt
200 G (7 oz) fresh Ricotta Cheese
2 free-range or organic Egg Yolks
200 ML (7 fl oz) pouring (single) Cream

Method:

Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F/Gas 8).

Heat a 32 cm (12 3/4 inch) diameter frying pan over high heat.

Add the olive oil and, when hot, throw in the spinach, mustard greens, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring or tossing all the time, until wilted.

Take off the heat and mix in the nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt.

Pour into a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, fold in the ricotta.

Whisk the egg yolks and cream together in a small bowl.

Pour into the ricotta mixture and mix well.

Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish (measuring 20 cm/8 inches in diameter) and bake for 20–25 minutes or until the ricotta has puffed up.

Take out of the oven and serve immediately.