These make a lovely vegetarian main course or a delicious starter. I also use them as a garnish for stews and soups. They can be served in many combinations: with a spicy Tomato or Red Pepper Coulis, fresh herb butter or just plain melted butter – delicious!
Sweat the chopped onion in the butter for a few minutes until translucent, then allow to cool. Wash the spinach well to remove any grit, then shake off any excess water. Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water for about 30 seconds then refresh in iced water. Squeeze the spinach until all the liquid is removed then chop it finely. Mix together the spinach and onion, then fold in the soft cheese and flour. Lightly beat the eggs and egg yolk together, then add them to the mixture and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Leave the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes, then mould it into dumplings using floured hands, allowing three to four per portion.
The dumplings can now be cooked in simmering salted water for 10–15 minutes. While they are cooking, pre-heat the grill. Arrange the dumplings in a flameproof dish and cover with the grated Parmesan. Finish under the hot grill until the cheese is lightly browned.
© 1994 Gary Rhodes. All rights reserved.