When it's no longer Winter but not yet Spring - a spinach and rabe crumble to satisfy cravings of warmth and freshness alike
I'm in no way a vegetarian - I do love my meat so much, especially game! - but I am always cooking meat free recipes for quick lunches. One of my favourite things to eat is a mix of rabe and spinach that has been gently cooked on a pan with good olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and a hint of lemon. I can have this as a meal, with a bowl of soup as starters, or use it as a side dish to go with either meat or fish or anything else, really. It's quite versatile, and it is very palatable. There's just something about the mix of the rabe and spinach leaves and lemon that gets my tastebuds singing!
So when recently I was thinking of something to cook for a quick lunch for two, my mind started concoting a recipe in my head, as I sat down to work at my laptop. I had spinach and rabe in the freezer - always have those! - and I had eggs and cheese and milk, I had flour and butter as well, and all of a sudden my mouth was watering with the thought of a spinach and rabe crumble. And I mean literally watering. The way I saw it in my mind had all the right pieces to hit all the right places with me. So what if my son didn't like it, I could always make something else for him? But the moment I described the dish to the kid, he was game. He's amazing like that, always quite ready to try my crazy ideas!!
See, I never baked a crumble before. When I was in Manchester I did have fruit crumbles, not often, I was more into bread and butter puds, trifles and mince pies than crumbles, but I had one or two cooked for me. I never did cook one myself, as I said, I'm more into other things, mainly I am so much more into savoury dishes than sweets. But it is something that has stayed in the back of my mind for so many years, the thought of a crumble, the idea of a savoury crumble actually. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give it a try. I researched a few crumble recipes, both sweet and savoury, but eventually came up with my idea of what I wanted it to be like.
This is the kind of dish that is actually quite light and airy. It doesn't make one feel bloated nor anything, but it will give a sense of comfort to your tummy. It's kind of a transitional comfort food dish, perfect for late Winter going into early Spring - did I mention that the tree that sits outside my living room window is currently blooming with bright green foliage, as if Spring had really sprung? It is and what a sight to be seen, as I sit here tapping away and occasionaly gazing at it, whilst listening to the chirping of those birds sitting on its branches! So if you're looking for a dish that is still warm, as the days are cold, but seems light as only Spring can be, this is the one for you. Give it a try!
Recipe for two small sized ramekins:
- frozen spinach - one portion, allow to defrost
- frozen rabe - one portion, allow to defrost
- one very small onion, finelly chopped
- one garlic clove, finelly diced
- a scatter of breadcrumbs
- one small knob of butter
- one small espresso sized cup with flour and rolled oats - I used buckwheat flour
- one large egg
- one small espresso sized cup of milk
- salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste
- olive oil
- drizzle of lemon juice
- grana padano cheese, grated