RECIPES - Spinach flan with taleggio cream, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan biscuit

by Marcello Muiesan

The restaurant was a classic Tuscan cuisine, located just outside the walls of a medieval "borgo" called Castello di Gargonza.

All surrounded by an incredible colorful forest it was the perfect location for wedding receptions and all sorts of celebration which is where I was going to help the most.

I supposed to work on the floor but I was always in the kitchen, guess why.

At that time I wasn't too deep into cooking but I was already showing interests and I was definitely looking to learn new skills and tricks.

The main thing about this dish, the spinach flan, is the original recipes I obtained from the chef a long time ago, anything else comes from my knowledge and creativity.

I would describe this dish as the union from tradition and modernity, a simple but yet delightful vegetarian starter that will make your mouth watering and take you back in time to the 90's, or at least it takes me there.

Ingredients for serving 4 people:

For the bechamel

100ml of whole milk
20gr of butter
15gr flour 00

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour, and finally the milk at room temperature.

Continue to stir until a homogeneous and shiny cream is obtained, add salt and grated nutmeg, keep stirring till fully absorbed.

Cover with cling film so that the crust does not form on the surface.

Set aside.

For the spinach flan

600gr of spinach
60gr of grated Parmesan
60gr of breadcrumbs
30ml cream
1 egg
40gr of butter

Put the spinach in a saucepan with very little water and cook stirring constantly.

Once cooked, drain them well and sauté them with 20gr. of butter.

Pour the sautéed spinach, the previously prepared béchamel, the egg, the grated parmesan, and the cream into a container with high edges.

Season with salt and whisk until you get a homogeneous cream.

Grease with butter 4 small molds of 6.5cm in diameter by 3cm in height and lay them on a baking sheet by placing a sheet of baking paper underneath.

Fill the molds with the Spinach cream obtained before, up to 0.5cm from the edge, cover with breadcrumbs, and put a thin disc of butter covering the whole flan.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the Taleggio cream

200gr of taleggio
50ml fresh cream

Cut the Taleggio into small pieces and put it together with the cream in a saucepan and cook over low heat continuing to stir.

When the Taleggio cheese is completely dissolved, remove from the heat and leave in a bain-marie so that the cream remains warm without solidifying.

For the Parmesan biscuit

50gr of grated Parmesan

Take a non-stick pan and sprinkle the surface with Parmesan evenly.

Put on the fire and let cook by occasionally peeling the edges of the waffle from the pan.

When the whole waffle begins to come off easily, turn and cook the other side, once cooked, remove from the pan and let cool.

For the dried tomato sauce

4 dried cherry tomatoes
50ml of extra virgin olive oil

Blend the oil and the dried cherry tomatoes until they are completely chopped.

For the presentation (one portion)

Tagette flowers

Splash the taleggio cream on the plate irregularly, I would use a dark one to create the contrast effect.

Remove the flan from the mold and place it on a side of the plate.

From the parmesan wafer, brake an irregular piece and place it on top of the flan, as well as a quenelle of sundried tomato paste.

Decorate with Tagette flowers.

Wine pairing

Maremma Toscana D.O.C. Vermentino - Prato al Pozzo

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