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When Recipes Go Wrong, Part 1

Not everything that gets made in Spamwise’s kitchen comes out perfect the first time around. A case in point was my first attempt at a brunch dish I saw on Eggs on Sunday.

I had been casting about for a recipe that used ricotta cheese that I could make for dinner, one that didn’t involve pasta. When I saw the recipe, I knew I had to try it. I even had most of the ingredients on hand!

It turned out that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I didn’t think things through enough when I tried to adapt the recipe. For one thing, I don’t have a cast-iron pan, so cooking with the broiler was out. I had briefly entertained the notion of going to Bed Bath and Beyond but discarded it within 10 seconds of the thought entering my head. For another, I don’t usually make scrambled eggs so I’m afraid it didn’t turn out as well as it could have.

That being said, it wasn’t bad for an inaugural effort. The recipe is a keeper even though things didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I’ll definitely be making this again.

This post is entitled “Part 1” because I just KNOW there’ll be more opportunities for failure in the future. 🙂

Fellini eggs (scrambled eggs with fresh ricotta cheese, tomato confit, buttery herb bread and chickweed)

Click here for a high-resolution version of this picture.

Recipe adapted from Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin via Serious Eats.

Chickweed is a cool-season annual plant native to Europe but is most often found throughout Europe, Canada and the continental United States. Stellaria media is the Latin name given to common chickweed. There are many varieties referred to as “chickweed” but most lack the nutritious and medicinal properties of plants in the genus Stellaria. Used in this post, “chickweed” refers to the plant commonly eaten as a salad green. Left raw, it has a crisp, sweet flavor that’s faintly reminiscent of freshly shucked corn. One of my favorite preparations is to make a vinaigrette consisting of one part extra-virgin olive oil to one part freshly squeezed lemon juice, with the barest hint of salt and pepper. Add to the chickweed and toss gently so that the dressing clings teasingly, almost like a second skin. You don’t need anything else, not even a garnish. It’s a herald of summer, of the season to come.

unsalted butter, softened*
1 t. onion chives, minced
kosher salt
one semolina roll, split
4 eggs
1 T. fromage blanc**
freshly milled black pepper
1/4 cup tomato confit
1 small bunch chickweed, coarsely chopped, then briefly sautéed in 1 t. butter
1/2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese

Stir together unsalted butter, onion chives and a scant pinch of salt. Spread butter evenly over the split semolina roll, then place in a Pyrex baking dish in a 350 F oven and bake until the bread is briefly toasted, about 5 minutes. Take out of the oven, let cool slightly, then tear the bread into bite-size chunks.

Melt some unsalted butter in a sauté pan over moderate heat. Whisk the eggs and fromage blanc together, season with salt and pepper, and pour them into the pan. Turn down the heat and gently scramble the eggs.*** When they’re about halfway done, fold in the chive bread chunks, tomatoes, and chickweed.

When the eggs are done, transfer to a baking dish, top with dollops of ricotta and place in the oven to melt the cheese just a little bit.

Time: About 30 minutes, including prep.

Looking back over the recipe, I can see I made some additional mistakes:

* I could have used less butter when making the scrambled eggs. I don’t normally make scrambled eggs so I’m attributing this to my inexperience (it’s actually not my favorite way to eat eggs, as I prefer omelettes or poached or soft-cooked).

** I could have used heavy cream as the recipe calls for instead of fromage blanc. Probably not a major mistake though.

*** I should have turned the heat down to low; instead I think I left it on medium-low. The eggs cooked more quickly than intended, which threw off timing on everything else. I was wondering why they scrambled quickly.

Oh well, live and learn.

2 replies »

  1. Does sound like a great recipe for dinner or a lazy Sunday breakfast. Thanks for stopping by -= I’m thinking you would like fresh ricotta. (and you need to buy a cast-iron skillet!)


  2. It happens to the best of us; the challenge is what makes cooking so fun. And while the dish may not look quite as you were hoping, judging by the ingredients in it, I’m sure it still tasted good.


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