Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tomato, Ricotta, and Spinach "Napoleons"

Last night I talked to you about how my dinner for the evening included me playing mini- Iron Chef in my kitchen.  Curious about what I was making??  Over the weekend, while at the Boston Local Food Festival, I came across a wonderful stand full of delicious cheeses- the Narragansett Creamery.  They had a delightful stand set up and were giving tastes of their products, and, to be honest, I fell in love.  I have a real "thing" for Ricotta Cheese, and after just a little taste of theirs, well, I HAD to purchase it-I'm impressed I kept it to just one container to be honest.  The Ricotta was rich and smooth, so creamy that it reminded me of a mousse.  I tightly clutched my purchase all the way home, as if it was gold and everyone around me knew what I was in possession of.

Last night I decided to see just what I could do with the cheese, of course rather than eating it straight from the carton until I burst.  I came up with the idea of a mock napoleon, using the end of summer tomatoes, and some spinach that I've been adding to lunches all week.  I decided to forgo the usual pastry that separates the layers, but instead decided to build my towers a top a ricotta enhanced pancake.  

As I went to the gym last night for a long work out- time was of the essence by the time I got home so I skipped some steps and used store bought pancake mix. I guarantee the pancakes would be better with a homemade mix.

Pancake Batter - follow instructions on box- or make your own- simple and tasty!
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 tbsp Garlic Powder (more if you're like me and LOVE garlic)
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper (to your liking)

1 tomato, sliced
3/4 cup raw baby spinach, washed
1 tbsp paper thin sliced red onion
4 tbsp Ricotta Cheese

Heat a skillet, lightly covered with oil over medium high heat.  Once the pancake mix is prepared, blend in the Ricotta cheese, garlic powder and pepper.  Spoon tablespoons of the pancake mix into the hot pan, cook well, flipping once.  Set aside to cool.  

When the pancakes are cooled, place one on a plate, and then layer a slice of tomato, several leaves of spinach, and a tablespoon of ricotta on top.  Sprinkle with onion slices, and then repeat the stack leaving out the initial pancake.  The result should be Pancake, tomato, spinach, ricotta, onion, tomato, spinach, ricotta, onion.

I LOVED these as a side to tangy and sweet pork chops that I made.  The "Napoleons" added a bit of decadence with the rich Ricotta, and the pancakes ended up spongy and and a lot fluffier and moister than an average pancake- they also had some seriously delicious flavors going! 

The next time I make these I think I might plan ahead a bit more and thaw out my Spinach Pesto to use again, and I may add in some other veggies as well- perhaps some sauteed mushrooms or grilled eggplant or zucchini?  The possibilities are pretty endless here.  

A final note- you end up with A LOT of the small pancakes- I froze mine to use in the future.   


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