Creamy Ricotta Dip with The Best Chips I’ve Ever Tasted.
I don’t know if any of you have ever slow-roasted strawberries. I mean really slow-roast – 250° for at least 3 hours, and as many as 6. You simply put the strawberries in a pan/dish packed closely with a little sugar and let them slowly roast. I find I need to flip them midway through and 4 hours seems to be the sweet spot. You don’t want them to dry out and become leathery. And you also don’t want the juices to turn brown and caramelize.
I’ve made these several times and here was my dilemma. Their flavor concentrates and they become intensely flavored. Very intensely flavored. I’ve seen recommendations for spooning them over pound cake, etc. and I’ve tried it. But I think they are so strong they end up overpowering anything sweetly flavored. I really love them and I got to thinking about using them in a completely different way.
Their flavor is so intense it reminds me of something that has almost been pickled and I decided to use them in a more savory type of dish. I made a half batch of my Homemade Ricotta and this time I added a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the strawberries as they roasted. When they were done, I strained the strawberries from their syrup, chopped them up and stirred them into the ricotta, along with a little salt, plenty of pepper, and some chopped fresh mint.
It took me several days to arrive at this recipe and as I was thinking about it, I realized I had a pack of Hong Kong dumpling wrappers sitting in my freezer. So, I decided to fry them up and use them as scoops for the strawberry ricotta. I’d never tried frying these and didn’t know what to expect. Well, this turned out to be one of my best decisions of all time.
It only takes about 1 – 2 minutes for these to puff up, turn golden and crisp. I lightly sprinkled them with fine sea salt as soon as they came out of the oil. These are hands down the very best scoops/chips I’ve ever eaten. They’re delicate, because Hong Kong style dumpling wrappers are particularly thin, but they’re plenty sturdy enough to hold mounds of the dip.
And here’s one of the best parts. I made about 30 of these, so they weren’t all eaten at once. I made sure I saved a few to test over the next several days. I finally ate the last one on the third day and it tasted exactly like it did when it was freshly made. I could not believe it. I will never again be without a pack of these stashed in my freezer. I was able to fry 3 at a time in a 3 quart saucepan, so it only took about 15 minutes to fry up 30 of these beauties.
Now, as to the other items on this platter of food. We don’t eat many snack foods. We’re meal people. So, I knew I needed to turn this into a full meal. I had a Korean pear, some smoked sausages, and more strawberries. I just browned the sausage slices, cut up the pear, and cleaned the fresh strawberries. Then I mounded the dip onto the center of a big platter, swirled some “valleys” on top, and spooned on the reserved syrup from the strawberries. A healthy drizzle of good olive oil, black pepper, and a few mint leaves went on top and I then finished it all off with plenty of ground pistachios. The pear slices were great with the strawberry ricotta. As to the sausages, you could serve anything you’d like with this, but their salty smokiness was a particularly good match.
This dip turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever made. I’m not being ridiculous when I say this. It truly is that delicious. The ricotta ended up being the perfect foil for the strawberries. The creamy and milky richness is just what the strawberries need in order to balance out their intensity. This isn’t a sweet dip. It’s savory, but with a hit of sweet/tart when you bite into a bit of strawberry and get a little of the syrup.
Meals don’t have to be standard fare. This kind of food is exciting and fun. It’s why I still love cooking after all these years.