Wash 100g of spinach leaves and while they are still wet put them into a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Cover tightly with a lid and let the leaves cook, in their own steam, for a minute or two. Turn the leaves over and continue cooking, covered, for a further minute. Drain the leaves then squeeze the water from them with your hands and set aside.
Separate 3 eggs, putting the whites into a bowl large enough to beat them in. Stir 250g of ricotta into the egg yolks, then add 50g of plain flour, 2 tbsp of finely grated parmesan and 30g of melted butter. Chop a small handful of basil and parsley, stir them in, then season with a little salt and set aside. Finely chop the spinach.
Beat the egg whites until light and fluffy, then stir into the ricotta mixture together with the chopped spinach. Melt a little butter in a nonstick frying pan over a moderate heat. When it sizzles lightly, add a sixth of the ricotta mixture and pat it lightly into a small cake, about the circumference of a digestive biscuit, with the back of a spoon. Add another two. When the cakes have coloured lightly in the base, flip them over with a palette knife (do this quickly and confidently and they won’t break), then let the other side become a soft, pale gold. The full cooking time shouldn’t be more than a few minutes. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Remove the cakes with a palette knife or spatula, rest briefly on kitchen paper, then transfer to a plate. Serve with soured cream if you wish. Serves 2-3
These little cakes are surprisingly good-natured despite the mixture being somewhat soufflé like. The recipe makes 6, but you can make 4 and keep the mixture for an hour or so in the fridge. The last batch may not be quite so fluffy, but they’ll still be good. I try not to get the pan too hot, to give the inside a little more time in which to cook.
I eat these with little more than a few salad leaves on the side, but they are also very good for serving other recipes on. Baked mushrooms will sit on top of a pancake nicely, as the little cakes soak up the buttery, garlicky mushroom juices. I also like to add basil-seasoned cherry tomatoes on top, too.