Broccoli e Patate al Forno, Gratinate con la Ricotta Salata
Oven-Baked Broccoli and Potato Gratin with Salted Ricotta
It will not surprise you to hear that it was another cold and rainy Summer night in Frankfurt I'm sure. I wish they had told us in May, that Summer was officially over and that we would be having a 6-Month Fall period this year. That would have at least been fair! So here I am in August, making an oven-baked vegetable gratin... had it been warmer and sunnier it would have been an omelette! But even on a gray and dreary day, it turned out to be equally as delicious... and then some!
So I am almost there and have almost emptied out the fridge before my trip this weekend. Tonight I used the last couple of eggs, a couple of stems of broccoli, a couple of small potatoes and whipped them up into this colorful creation. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chives and a little salted ricotta added all of the real flavor... as well as some tasty herbs and spices... wanna find out how I did it? Cool! Here we go!
Let's start off by slicing up those little potatoes finely and frying them along with some thinly sliced bacon. A hot, dry frying pan is all you need as the bacon has more than enough fat. In the meantime, trim your broccoli into bite-sized chunks and slice up a couple of sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle the potato and bacon with cumin seeds and grate generously with nutmeg. After 3-4 minutes, the bacon should be beginning to go crunchy and the potatoes will also have a little color. And I know you will think I am crazy, but the next thing to do is to add a half a cup of boiling water.this will de-glaze the pan and pick up all of the good bacon flavors. Add the broccoli and allow to boil until the water is evaporated. The water will make sure that everything cooks nicely and infuses everything with the nice, smokey flavor of the bacon. Please don't worry- that bacon, along with everything else is going to crisp-up wonderfully in the oven!
Now beat 2 eggs per person and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Separate the yolks and the whites and prepare them as follows: add a splash of milk and some grated, salted ricotta to the yolks and whisk up the whites until nice and fluffy. Gently fold the egg mix together, so as to not lose the extra body you get from the fluffy egg whites. And now you can start layering your vegetables and egg, ready to bake! I added sun-dried tomatoes and a few black olives, to give a more Mediterranean flavor and a sprinkle of salted ricotta for that Sicilian touch! Mmmm!
So there you have it- another shoe-string meal that is bound to please and that is ready to serve in under 30 minutes! Yet again!