Lifestyle

Mark Hix fondly recalls his favourite cheesy byproduct

Ricotta is one of those great, versatile cheeses, ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes and appropriate at any time of the year.

It’s actually a byproduct of rennet-coagulated cheesemaking, so it’s also environmentally sound. My fondest memory of ricotta – and believe me, there have been many fond memories – came about 20 years ago on the island of Panteleria, where we had ricotta that was but an hour old, with steam still coming off it.

I had a similar tofu moment in Tokyo when the bean curd was poured into a pot in the middle of the table. After five courses and some regular stirring, it was ready to eat: I’ve never eaten packet tofu since.

Ricotta fritters with rhubarb recipe

Ingredients

  • 2-3 sticks of rhubarb, trimmed
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp grenadine (optional)
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Vegetable or corn oil for frying
  • Vanilla ice cream to serve

For the fritters:

  • 100-120g good quality ricotta, softened
  • A little vanilla essence
  • 100g Dove farm gluten free self raising flour plus extra for dusting Sparkling water to mix
  • Caster sugar for dusting

Method:

  • Mix the ricotta with the vanilla and roll into roughly 10p sized balls and place on a tray in the freezer.
  • Pre heat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6.
  • Put the sugar and grenadine in a wide saucepan, add 150ml water and bring to the boil.
  • Cut the rhubarb into even sized, fairly neat pieces, either chunks or batons and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Pour over the sugar mixture, cover and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is just tender and kept its shape. £ Drain the liquid into a saucepan and bring back to the boil, then simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, after which you should dilute the corn flour in a little water and stir into the liquid until it’s thickened. Simmer gently for another minute. Pour over the rhubarb in a bowl and leave to cool.
  • Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180°C in a large thick bottomed saucepan or electric deep fat fryer.
  • Meanwhile mix the flour and sugar with enough sparkling water to make a light batter. Have some kitchen paper ready on a plate or tray then roll the balls of ricotta in the flour, shaking off any excess, then fry a few at a time in the batter, depending on the size of your fryer, turning as they are cooking with a slotted spoon until golden. Transfer onto the kitchen paper and scatter with caster sugar.
  • Serve immediately with the rhubarb and a ball of ice cream.

Original Article

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