This is one of my favourite ‘I’m-in-a-bit-of-a-hurry-but-I-want-something-warm-healthy-and-delicious’ meals. I made this when it was pouring rain all day (as it tends to do here lately) and it really hit the spot. The combination of sauteed shallot, zucchini, peas, mint and grated ricotta salata is also one of my favourite side dishes to serve with roast chicken or fish.
Ricotta salata is a type of ricotta cheese that has been pressed, salted and dried. It comes as a hard, but somewhat spongy, cheese that is able to be grated, shaved or crumbled. It is quite mild in flavour, with a subtle salty kick. I have not had any success finding it in the supermarkets around me, but occasionally when I go to one of my fave deli’s in Brisbane I will stop by and pick up a wedge. If you can’t get your hands on ricotta salata, substitute a good quality pecorino or parmesan.
It is important to dice the shallot very small and cook it slowly until it becomes translucent… it takes about 8 minutes. To save time, I pop the shallots on first and in between occasional stirs, I quickly finish prepping all the other ingredients and get the egg on. On this occasion I didn’t add the mint (as it was pouring too hard for me to be bothered getting it from the garden!) but if you have it on hand, I highly recommend shredding a small handful and tossing it through at the end.
To add a splash of colour to the plate, I made a quick tomato salad from beautiful vine ripened tomatoes from the farmers market – tossed simply in a splash of extra virgin olive oil, good quality balsamic and a pinch of sea salt.
Zucchini, peas and ricotta salata on sourdough with soft-boiled egg
Serves one however this recipe is easily doubled to serve two.
good glug of olive oil
1/2 french shallot, finely diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
pinch red chilli flakes
1/2 cup frozen peas
5-6 mint leaves, finely shredded (optional)
20-30 g piece ricotta salata, finely grated
1-2 tbsp warm water
fresh ground pepper
1 thick slice sourdough bread
1 lemon cheek
1. Put the olive oil and the shallots in a fry pan over low heat, stirring occasionally until translucent with an olive oil tinge.
2. Prepare all other ingredients.
3. Put an egg in a small saucepan of tepid water over high heat. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to maintain a steady boil. Once boiling, set timer for 3 minutes (for a large egg) to achieve a soft boiled egg.
4. Once the shallot is translucent, add the zucchini and chilli flakes and turn heat up to medium (or medium-low if you have a powerful cooktop), stirring frequently to prevent catching. Add a tablespoon or two of warm water if it looks as if it is getting too dry (but careful as you don’t want the dish to be wet!).
5. Toast the slice of sourdough bread.
6. Add frozen peas to the zucchini and cook, stirring until the peas and zucchini are cooked through. Stir through sliced mint if using. Season with pepper and sprinkle with grated ricotta salata, saving a little for garnishing. Stir cheese through gently. Set aside while you peel the egg.
7. Remove egg once boiled and set aside able to handle it with your hands. Peel egg, being careful as the yolk will still be soft.
8. Assemble the meal by topping toast with zucchini mix, sprinkle with remaining ricotta salata and slice soft boiled egg in half on top. Serve a lemon cheek for squeezing over the zucchini and peas. Add some colour with a fresh tomato salad on the side.