Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Boats & Bites & Greens!

Barchette di Pizza con Cicoria, Ricotta Fresca & Cippolini in Agrodolce
Little Pizza-Dough Boats, filled with Wild Chicory, Fresh Ricotta & Sweet & Sour Spring Onions


Snack-time, party-time, supper time... Any time is a good time to make these wonderful little bites of Southern-Italian scrumptiousness!

These lovely-looking bite-size bread snacks are made in next to no time, using my frying-pan method... And the bitter greens and ricotta-onion topping, make for a great, "grown-up" snack that is a perfect accompaniment for an early evening drink...or two... Or more...


They look great, don't they? They taste great too! And no one would suspect that they are simply made from plain-old store bought pizza dough!

That already means they will be easy to make, but the fact that they will be done in just 15 minutes makes them even better still! Because in those 15 minutes, you can easily boil up your greens and get those spring onions all tangy and tasteful and 15 minutes after that, when everything is nice and cool, you can whip everything quickly together and enjoy!


So, what did I need apart from my roll po pizza dough, to make these 10 tasty treats? Not much and that's for sure! Lets see... 1 bunch of wild chicory, or 2 small ones in this case as it was very young and tender, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 shot glass of balsamic vinegar, around 2 tablespoons of fresh ricotta cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. Told you I didn't need much!


It's the bitter greens that make this so special, but if you are not keen on the bitter flavor, or can not get Italian wild chicory where you live, you could make the same thing with regular spinach or Swiss chard.


First things first, turn in your oven to get it hot and start boiling the chicory, cut down into slightly smaller lengths to make it easier to handle, in just a little water, with a nice pinch of salt. Bring it to a rolling boil and then when it begins to wilt-down, press it beneath the waters surface and reduce tit heat to a low simmer. You won't need to check in on this again until those little bread rolls are done!

Unroll your dough, cut it down the middle length-ways and then into small pieces of an equal size... Mine were about 3" wide and 4" long.

Next, roll-over each of the long edges, Sk that you have a nice rim on each side to hold your filling later.


And then simply pinch and slightly twist each end together, nice and tightly, with a little twist, just to be sure!


Give the base of your little pizza dough "boats" a few pricks with a fork, to stop them puffing up and then pop them into your frying pan to "bake" from below for 3-4 minutes. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then brush this all over the surface and sprinkle with coarsely ground sea salt.

After 3-4 minutes, transfer the pan to a hot oven, at the highest setting,for 5-10 minutes, then give them an extra 5 minutes under the broiler to give them a nice deep, golden crust.


Perfect and simple as can be! All they need to do now is to cool off!


To prepare the spring onions, cut them into lengths of around 2" and the cut them into strips length-ways. Put into a saucepan with just enough boiling water to cover them, add a good pinch of salt and boil for 5 minutes.


After 5 minutes, when the water is all but boiled away, add the balsamic vinegar and repeat the process, boiling it down until it is almost all reduced away again, the. Add the honey and turn off the heat. Stir in the honey, using only the residual heat in the saucepan to melt it down and cook it into the onion. Make sure you have the heat turned off so that the honey does not accidentally begin to turn bitter... Sweet and sour is good... But you don't need any more bitterness than that of the greens!


Speaking of which, by now, they can be drained, rinsed under cold water, then wrung-out completely and then finely chopped, ready for serving. Season with a pinch of salt, plenty of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and you are ready to go!


Spoon out the greens first, the add a little ricotta to the top of each one and season with a good grind of black pepper. And all you need to do now is to add a touch of those sweet and sour onions to each one and you are ready to enjoy! You can't get any easier than that!

Now... Where's my drink?

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