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storzapretis {ffwd}

Storzapretis

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is something that on the surface would seem more appropriate for an Italian cookbook. Storzapretis are, in fact, Corsican, and the recipe comes from one of Dorie’s friends in Paris who shared her Corsican father’s recipe for these ricotta dumplings.

The alternate name for this recipe is “Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi“, though I found it to be closer to gnudi. Some fingerwork on the internet uncovered the difference between gnocchi and gnudi to be the amount of flour. Gnudi uses very little flour, which was true for storzapretis too. I made gnocchi last year, and the shaping was different too. With the gnocchi, long rolls were cut into the smaller gnocchi, where the storzapretis are formed by making quenelles between two spoons.

Storzapretis are made from a mostly flourless mixture of ricotta, spinach, egg, Gruyère, and fresh herbs. From its alias, I assume the recipe originally used mint, but I love the floral undertones of marjoram (an annual form of oregano) so given the choice in the recipe, I picked marjoram.

Storzapretis Dough

After shaping the dough into quenelles and tossed in flour, they are frozen to firm up, then cooked in a pot of the gentlest simmer of water. The way the dumplings sank to the bottom of the pot, then floated up to finish cooking reminded me of making matzo balls, my favorite kind of soup dumplings.

Storzapretis Simmering

The storzapretis resemble the insides of ravioli, which might be the origin of the name gnudi, which means naked, like ravioli filling without its wrapper.

Finally, the dumplings are laid out in a baking dish, covered with marinara sauce, sprinkled with more Gruyère (the French touch) and baked until it’s heated through and the cheese is melting.

Storzapretis Baked

I enjoyed discovered something completely different. I didn’t realize how much work it would be to shape the dough though. I didn’t eat dinner until 8:30 pm, much later than intended. I liked it, but I’m not sure I’d take the time to make storzapretis again. I’m hoping leftovers taste OK because we’re having it again for dinner tonight.

I don’t have any pictures to share, but on Wednesday night, I braved the frigid cold to attend Dorie’s book signing for Baking Chez Moi at the Harvard Book Store. It was so nice to see her again. She is so down-to-earth and genuine. She shared stories about life in Paris for nearly an hour and then entertained a few questions before signing books. When it was my turn, she came out from behind the table to give me a hug and kiss, then signed both the copy of Baking Chez Moi I purchased that evening PLUS my well-used copy of Around My French Table. I’m hoping to occasionally jump on the Tuesdays with Dorie bandwagon to bake from the new book, but I won’t be fully committed.

To see how the other Doristas made out with their storzapretis, check out their links here. The recipe can be found here or in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

For my American Dorista friends, because we won’t meet again until next Friday, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving along with safe travels if you’ll be away from home. I give thanks for the many friends I’ve made on this cyber-culinary journey!

ffwd: fish and spinach roulades

Fish and Spinach Roulades

It’s been a tense week since the tragic events on Monday. We know people who were in the area of the Marathon’s finish line minutes, or seconds, before the bombs went off, though everyone I know is safe. I hope that everyone you know is safe as well. Let’s all keep the victims and their families in our thoughts as they face the long road of healing of them.

As I sit here writing this post, I’m riveted to the radio as the latest news about the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt unfolds. I live in a town that borders several of those that are “locked down” and have settled in for a day at home. Our workplaces are closed (though I’m not working today anyway), and it all just seems surreal.

Many thanks to those of you who reached out to check on me. It makes the world feel like a smaller and nicer place than it often seems to be.

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie gave me a project to distract me. When I’m stressed, I like to cook, and make a big mess. Fish and spinach roulades filled the bill for that. I don’t think I read the recipe beyond the title before I made my grocery list. I had envisioned something along the lines of fish fillets rolled up around a spinach filling. I was wrong about that. It was much more sophisticated.

First, I noticed the filling used preserved lemons. I’ve always meant to make them myself, but you need to plan about a month in advance. Tuesday was too late. Fortunately, I’ve had good luck with Mark Bittman’s Quick Preserved Lemon, ready in just 3 hours, so I made two lemons’ worth, some for this recipe, and some for later. The filling is made from baby spinach wilted with sautéed onion and garlic and then mixed with preserved lemon.

Filling Ingredients

The fish wasn’t whole fillets at all. It’s a mousse-y mixture of fish, egg whites, and heavy cream, like a quenelle (though I’ve never had one). The recipe called for cod, but I went for pollack instead (sort of cannibalistic as that is my last name), which is a white-fleshed fish but less expensive. The ingredients are pureed in the food processor to make a sticky paste.

DSC05098

Then the fun begins. The roulades were like a craft project. First, you lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Then you spread the fish paste into a rectangle. Center a strip of filling on top of the fish, and then roll into a sausage. Finally, you wrap the roulades in the plastic and twist the ends to tighten. After I was done, I realized that using a bamboo sushi mat would have made this even easier. To cook, the roulades are steamed for ten minutes. Then you remove the wrap, slice and serve.

Sausages!

Tomatoes aren’t in season, so I wasn’t tempted by the suggested optional sauce. Instead, I used the two egg yolks and made rouille, a red-pepper spiked aioli. It was sort of thick, but tasted good with the fish roulade.

Dorie suggested cut these into a fan shape, so I tried that, but I think slices would be prettier. I served my roulades around a large dollop of rouille and then dotted with pesto.

These were good, but I’m not sure I would make them again. I had one roulade for dinner, but I think they would make a better starter or light lunch. Leftovers for lunch!

You can find the recipe for these roulades in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To read about the other Doristas’ roulades, follow their links here.

Keep yourselves safe this weekend!