Tag: rucola

A Bavarian Sandwich with Obatzda and spicy Radish

Obatzter Sandwich

In a Bavarian beer garden, you can be sure you will find plenty of beer, sausages and at vesper time a traditional delicacy which is served with bread, I’m talking about Obatzda also known as Obatzter meaning mashed. Drinking beer in Bavaria demands strong physical condition as it’s served in a 1 liter mug, the “mass”. You may imagine that it’s quite helpful to have  some rich food on the side when drinking such quantities (obviously people don’t stop after their first “mass” of beer). Obatzda is one of them and it’s offered in huge varieties. It’s basically a cream made of aged cheese leftovers often mixed with either herbs or spices like hot paprika powder or caraway seeds, onion, garlic, a shot of beer, horseradish, butter, cream cheese, I could continue endlessly. It is, again one of those dishes that evolved in each region with each personal preference and local tradition.

My Obatzda is green, it’s based on rucola and a middle-aged camembert and cream cheese. I added some radish and watercress to bring out the rucola’s mild spiciness next to the rich and tangy cheese. White bread wouldn’t have managed to keep up with these strong flavours, I used dark spelt bread. This sandwich needs a dense and juicy texture, strong bread with a nice crust. What is great about this dip is that you can really play around with the leftovers of your fridge. Spring onions, dried tomatoes, olives, all the ingredients mentioned above, you can create your own Obatzda after your own preferences. After your selection is made, mix everything in a blender or mash with a fork and spread on a slice of bread, a thick layer, this is a luscious Bavarian sandwich after all!

For a little bowl of Obatzda, I mixed 30g / 1 ounce of rucola with 50g / 2 ounces of aged camembert, 150g / 5.5 ounces of cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the camembert’s age and tanginess you might need more or less cream cheese, the same with salt. When the dip is spread on a slice of bread, sprinkle with thin slices of radish and some watercress.

Obatzter Sandwich

 

Obatzter Sandwich

 

Obatzter Sandwich

Rucola Salad with Goat Cheese, Honey Dressing and Pink Peppercorns

Rucola Goat Cheese Salad

Here’s the salad which accompanied yesterday’s salmon with spice crust, rucola with goat cream cheese, crushed pink  peppercorns and a sweet honey Balsamico vinegar dressing! I wanted to use both the pink and the green peppercorns which I had just bought at the market, not in the same dish but in the same meal. The spiciness of the green pepper fit perfectly with the crust I chose for the fish but my salad, sweet and milky, needed a mild and less spicy aroma, pink peppercorns. The berries matched the sourness of the creamy cheese very well which was so young that there was only a hint of goat milk. I could have used mozzarella instead but I wanted  this special, slightly sharp aroma which balanced out the sweetness of my vinaigrette on the other side.

Usually, I make a quick dressing for my salads, 3 tablespoons of olive and 2 tablespoons of Balsamico vinegar plus salt and pepper, but this salad asked for more. I kept the ratio of vinegar and oil but I mixed my dark Balsamico with the white one and added 1 small teaspoon of honey (depending on the sweetness you want to achieve you might need more or less honey). It turned out thick, sticky and syrupy, exactly what I wanted! For 2 I spread 2 handfuls of rucola leaves on plates and sprinkled 125g / 4.5 ounces of fresh goat cream cheese in big lumps on top. I drizzled the dressing over the  leaves and garnished my salad with 1 tablespoon of crushed pink peppercorns. It would have made us just as happy as a light and easy lunch on its own. I have to remember that, it will be perfect on a hot summer evening!

Rucola Goat Cheese Salad

 

Rucola Goat Cheese Salad

 

Rucola Goat Cheese Salad

 

Rucola Goat Cheese Salad

Umbrian Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

Torta al Testo

This week’s sandwich is my version of Torta al Testo – the Umbrian flatbread – stuffed with rucola and mozzarella together with a dressing of olive oil and balsamico. Originally, this bread is unleavened, just made with flour, salt and water. I add some dry yeast, some use baking soda or sourdough. The name Torta al Testo comes from the fact that, traditionally, it is cooked on a hot disc of clay or metal – al testo – over the open fire, as I don’t have that I use a skillet on a normal cooker.

Torta al Testo has everything a good sandwich needs: amazing bread and a tasty filling. What I also like about it, is the way it’s cooked. It’s fun to see the flat disc of dough rising and cooking in the hot pan within a couple minutes. It’s very entertaining! I recently had friends over for dinner and Torta al Testo was the starter. We gathered in the kitchen, crowded as always, I cooked the bread and we all watched it rise. The kitchen was packed with people and food, I cooked one batch of flatbread after the other (I had to make quite a few of them) and the room got more and more smokey from the hot pan. Thankfully no one left, even though you could barely see anymore after I had left one in too long. We were all kind of mesmerized by the rising bread but don’t worry, if you watch your bread it will be fine, no need for a fire alarm!

Torta al Testo

Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

For 6 Torta al Testo you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces plus more for mixing
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other flour)
dry yeast 1 1/2 teaspoons
water, lukewarm, 140ml
salt 1/4 teaspoon
for the filling:
mozzarella, cut into cubes, 125g / 4.5 ounces
rucola around 100g / 3.5 ounces
olive oil (6 tablespoons) mixed with balsamico vinegar (3 tablespoons) and seasoned with salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the dough with the hooks of your mixer. Add some more flour if the mixture is too sticky. After 5 minutes continue mixing with your hands for a couple minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place or the warm oven (35°C / 95°F, top/ bottom heat, no fan) for 40 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a well floured working surface, roll each one out into a flat disc. Leave the discs on the floured  surface, cover with a tea towel and let them rise for another 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet on highest temperature (no oil!). Cook the bread on one side for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, turn and cook on the other side for another minute, at that point it will start to rise rapidly. You might have to cook it for a few seconds more or less – but keep an eye on it so as not to burn it.

Take the bread out and let it cool for a minute. Cut your flatbread in half and fill with the mozzarella and rucola. Drizzle some dressing on top and close your Torta al Testo.

Torta al Testo

 

Torta al Testo