Results tagged “ricotta”

Nettle bake

Erhan Şeker is a talented Turkish chef who makes great use of wild greens and herbs.  He cooks all sorts of weird and wonderful leaves, shoots and tendrils, most of which I wouldn’t know how to find back at home in the UK.  But one thing we can definitely find at home is stinging nettles.  In many areas they’re abundant.  And of course they’re free, and very good for you.  

Smnettlebake0001.JPGThis dish, called ‘çırpma’ in Turkish (meaning ‘mixed’, as I guess you could mix up all sorts of greens in here if you wanted, wild or otherwise), was expertly made for us in Erhan’s kitchen by his assistant Nesrin, using Erhan’s homemade goat ricotta. It’s the kind of comfort food that feels like it should be bad for you it’s so satisfying, but is actually incredibly good for you.  Wild greens are more nutritious than cultivated ones as they’re higher in antioxidants and other goodies that the plants must have plenty of in order to defend themselves from pests.

As you will see, the ingredient quantities in the recipe need some refining, so let me know how it goes if you make it.


Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from the whey resulting from the production of mozzarella, provolone and other cheeses.  The name means 're-cooked', because the whey is processed for a second time when it is used to make the ricotta.

Ricotta is a good source of calcium.  This is because most of the calcium in milk is contained in the watery whey ('buttermilk') part, rather than the creamy 'butterfat' component.

Ricotta can be preserved through salting, baking or smoking.  For the Amarone-poached figs recipe it is essential to use fresh ricotta, which should be soft, bright white and mild in flavour.  It goes off easily so eat within a week of purchasing.

You can make ricotta yourself using nothing but whole milk, white distilled vinegar and salt...

Amarone-poached figs with ricotta

Figs have been in season here in San Francisco recently, so I have been experimenting with them.  You'll either love this or hate it I reckon.  Let me know how it goes if you try it.  If nothing else, it provides a good excuse to open a bottle of Amarone.

Traditionally in Italy this dish is made with Sambuca instead of Amarone.  I tried it with both and much prefer it with Amarone.  You could try any anise-flavoured spirit, or perhaps Marsala, port or brandy... 

What makes the dish work is the contrasting combination of the salty, crunchy pine nuts, the soft, cool ricotta and the warm, sweet figs and syrup.

Amarone figs.jpg


Culinary Anthropologist