After the nice response to my black tea jelly blog post, I couldn't stop thinking about other creative ways to use gelatin. Then, prompted by two of our recent recipe themes (Your Best Spinach Recipe and Your Best Italian Dessert), I found inspiration. Why not try a savory panna cotta, infused with garlic and bay leaf and tinted with puréed spinach? I once made a tomato panna cotta for my final exam in cooking school, and it was a miserable failure, splitting because of all the acid. But I knew I wouldn't encounter that same roadblock with spinach.
So, I got to work and this time was lucky enough to meet with success. Don't be fooled by the name of this dish: it's unapologetically rich, and merely "scented," as Amanda pointed out, with spinach. This panna cotta is not intended to serve as one of your 6 to 8 recommended daily fruits and vegetables. But it will win over your guests with its delicate, pale green hue, its creamy, garlicky flavor, and its seductive jiggle. I plan to serve it next alongside herbed leg of lamb and the first asparagus of the season. —Merrill Stubbs
packed frozen or freshly cooked chopped spinach (thawed if frozen and as much water squeezed out as you can)
Large pinch freshly ground nutmeg
(2 teaspoons) powdered gelatin
Freshly ground pepper
In This Recipe
Combine cream, 1/2 cup milk, garlic and bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium low heat. When it just starts to simmer, turn off the heat and let infuse for 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine 3/4 cup milk, spinach and nutmeg in a blender and blitz until smooth. Put the remaining 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let it soften for about 5 minutes.
Stir the gelatin and milk into the infused cream and gently reheat over a low flame, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the spinach mixture, salt and ground pepper to taste. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to get all of the liquid, and pour into 4 ramekins. Refrigerate for several hours, until set. To unmold, dip the ramekins in a bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds and turn each panna cotta onto its own plate.