I found these gorgeous flower sprouts at the markets a couple of weekends ago. They are a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale and are soooo beautiful. The size of Brussels sprouts but with purple-tinged, frilled leaves, they inspired so many recipe ideas. The problem was, I thought these little babies were so lovely that not just any dish would warrant their sacrifice into the pan.
A warm salad with hazelnuts and speck? Tossed with mushrooms and ricotta through buckwheat pasta? Baked into a gratin with gruyere? Nothing seemed perfect.
So my lovely little sprouts sat in the fridge for a couple of days until I stopped letting perfect get in the way of good. And baked a simple ricotta.
Baked Ricotta, Flower Sprouts, Bacon
- 2c fresh, full-fat ricotta (500g)
- 1c finely grated parmesan (about 100g)
- 2 eggs
- salt & pepper
- OPTIONAL: lemon zest, chopped chili
- 2 bacon rashers, diced
- 10-12 flower sprouts or Brussels sprouts, core removed and pulled apart into “petals”
- handful pine nuts
- handful fresh basil leaves
Mix the ricotta, parmesan and eggs together. Season and add the lemon zest and/or chili if using. Scrape into an oven-proof dish and bake @200’C for 20 minutes or until golden and slightly puffed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place the bacon and sprouts on a lined oven tray and bake for 5 minutes. Add the pine nuts to the tray and bake a further 2-3 minutes until bacon and sprouts are cooked and nuts are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and mix bacon, sprouts and nuts so that the bacon fat coats everything well. Season with salt, pepper, basil and a squeeze of lemon juice and scatter over the baked ricotta.
Kitchen notes: any leftover ricotta is delicious the next day. Crumble it through a salad or slice it and serve as part of an antipasto plate. In fact, I prefer this ricotta at room temperature so feel free to bake this ahead of time.