Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beet Greens, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Bites, two ways

Baked bites
I had a lot of beet greens leftover from beets, and I wanted to try something new with them. I also really wanted to make fresh ricotta, so I thought I would try combining those two ingredients. Part of this idea came from how much I like Pi Bites at Pi, which are fontina and prosciutto rolled in bread crumbs and baked. I thought ricotta and beet greens, blended together and then mixed with some prosciutto might work well in a similar format. I'm sure they would also be good deep fried... but when something is good enough without being deep fried I try to resist the urge to add that much extra fat to it.

Pan-fried bites
Beet Greens, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Bites

1 cup fresh ricotta, handmade or store-bought
1 bunch beet greens
6 ounces prosciutto, in a small dice
lemon zest from 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
bread crumbs

Steam or saute the beet greens until they are fully cooked. In a food processor, puree the greens (they will look more red than green if they came from red beets).Add the ricotta and lemon zest, and blend just to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste (be light on salt since the prosciutto is salty), and then some bread crumbs if it seems too thin to form into balls. Stir in the prosciutto, and refrigerate the mixture so that it firms up some.

1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmigiano, optional
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, and olive oil on a plate. Using two spoons, take a piece of the dough and drop it into the bread crumb mixture. Roll it around until it is coated, and then, put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Pan-fried bites
For baked bites: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bites for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned and hot through. Serve warm, on a bed of greens if you like.

For pan-fried bites: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Press the round balls into flatter cakes. Add the bites to the hot pan, and fry for a couple minutes on each side, making sure both sides are browned. Serve warm, on a bed of greens if you like.

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