turnovers have cream cheese in the dough, plus a
filling of farmer cheese, fresh arugula, ramps and
cheese. Fresh herbs. I scan menus for the combination and
order it every time — in salads, with vegetables, over
pasta, on grilled breads.
on grilled toast with kale pesto and cherry tomatoes set the
mood at a recent ladies lunch. Wood-oven-fired pizza topped
with fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella started our night
out with the couples group. Recent springtime travels in
Spain had us encountering all manner of Spanish cheese and
fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley.
cheese itself need not be warm to suffice — but it shouldn’t
be cold either. Nearly all cheese has maximum flavor and
aroma at room temperature. Same for the herbs too. Use them
at room temperature, or warm them simply with the heat of
the food they accompany.
first recipe, inspired by a dish I enjoyed at Ariete in
Coconut Grove, Fla., pairs room-temperature burrata with a
braise of ham and greens. In February, the restaurant served
it with braised Brussels sprouts. In spring, I like to use
tender dandelion greens, the season’s first snap peas and
a shower of the garden’s first mint and chives.
the dish as a simple main course at brunch accompanied by
warm brioche rolls. Or, substitute a disk of a soft, ripened
French-style goat’s cheese known as bucheron (I like the
Montchevre brand from Wisconsin) for a shared appetizer with
sliced French bread before a dinner of grilled steak and
thinly sliced fried potatoes.
happily make a meal of cheese turnovers topped with salsa
verde, the Italian green condiment made with fresh parsley
and briny capers. To that end, I keep a container of the
salsa in a jar in my fridge and a freezer container filled
with the cheese-and-herb-filled turnovers in the freezer.
admit that making turnovers requires kitchen time and
patience, but these turnovers can be baked from their frozen
state. So, on rainy spring days, I make a batch or two to
have on hand to bake into golden crispy goodness as needed
the filling, I like to use no-salt-added farmer cheese sold
in tubs near the cottage cheese. Like a pressed cottage
cheese, this spreadable, soft cheese is milky and creamy; it
reminds me of France’s fromage blanc. Add chopped fresh
herbs (fresh wild ramps if you can find them at your local
farmers market) and a bit of garlic, and the filling will
keep in the refrigerator for several days. By the way,
leftover filling makes a great spread for bread.
dough for the turnovers contains butter and cream cheese
(more cheese!) for an easy to work with, slightly rich,
forgiving dough. Even rerolled scraps from this dough yield
tender turnovers. The dough can be made in advance and
refrigerated for several days. Then, roll out and shape the
turnovers at your leisure.
the turnovers warm from the oven with the salsa condiment
for dunking. The briny relish also tastes great served over
grilled fish, stirred into cooked pasta or as the dressing
for a salad with grilled vegetables.
WITH BRAISED HAM AND PEAS
is the perfect place to use dribbles from that bottle of
expensive balsamic vinegar hidden in the back of the
cabinet. Or, use a balsamic glaze in tiny amounts.
of burrata cheese, about 8 ounces, or one 1 ¼- inch thick
disc (6 ounces) goat-milk bucheron cheese
2 to 3
tablespoons fruity olive oil
small yellow onion, finely chopped
piece (4 ounces) smoked ham (or pancetta or prosciutto),
diced, about 1 cup
ounces (about 1 cup) small sugar snap peas, stringed, cut in
half if large
bunch fresh dandelion greens, about 2 ounces, stems trimmed
off, roughly chopped, about 1 packed cup (or substitute baby
spinach or baby kale)
small clove garlic, crushed
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 to 2
tablespoons each, chopped fresh: mint, chives
of expensive balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
cheese on a large serving platter, and keep covered until
cheese is at room temperature.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add oil and
onion. Saute until onion is golden, about 3 minutes. Add ham
and peas; cook 2 minutes. Stir in greens; cook until wilted,
about 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in salt
and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Nestle the ham and greens mixture around the cheese.
Sprinkle everything with the herbs. Add a drizzle of the
balsamic if desired. Serve right away.
information per serving: 312 calories, 23 g fat, 10 g
saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g
sugar, 16 g protein, 569 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
BAKED TURNOVERS WITH FARMER CHEESE AND SALSA VERDE
1 hour or more
36 small turnovers
will have leftover filling; keep it refrigerated to serve on
toast or dollop onto a hot pizza or pasta.
stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small
ounces light cream cheese, very cold, cut into small pieces
cup half-and-half or whole milk
ounces soft farmer cheese (no salt added)
baby arugula leaves, finely chopped
fresh ramps, small wild leeks or slender green onions,
trimmed, chopped, about ¼ cup
tablespoons chopped fresh dill fronds
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
olive and lemon Italian-style salsa verde, see recipe
the dough, put the flour and salt into a food processor or
large bowl, and mix well. Add the cold butter and cream
cheese pieces. Pulse the food processor with on/off turns
until the mixture resembles small bits. (Alternatively, use
a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter and cream
cheese into the flour.) Drizzle the half-and-half over the
flour mixture. Pulse the machine, or use a fork to gently
moisten the flour until the mixture gathers into a ball.
Place on a floured work surface, gather into a ball and
flatten with your hands into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic,
and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to a couple of days.)
the filling, put the cheese into a bowl and stir to lighten
it. Stir in the chopped arugula, ramps (or the substitute),
dill, salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate up to
several days. Use cold.
Lightly flour a work surface. Use a floured rolling pin to
gently roll the dough out to a sheet that is about 1/8 inch
thick. Use a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out
rounds. Very gently reroll the scraps to cut out a total of
Moisten the edge of each round with some of the beaten egg.
Set a 1 1/2-teaspoon dollop of the filling in the center of
each round. Use your fingers to fold the round into a half
moon shape; crimp the edges together to completely enclose
the filling. Use the tines of a fork to make a decorative
edge at the seam. Use the tines of the fork to pierce the
top of each half moon.
Place the filled half moons on a parchment-lined baking
sheet. (If working ahead, you can cover the baking sheet
with plastic wrap and freeze up to a couple of weeks. Bake
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops with some of the
remaining egg. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes (5 to 10
minutes longer if baking from frozen). Serve warm with salsa
verde for spooning over.
information per turnover: 62 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g
saturated fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 0 g
sugar, 2 g protein, 85 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
OLIVE AND LEMON ITALIAN-STYLE SALSA VERDE
fresh ramps (wild onions) when the farmers market has them
in stock. Tender green onions or chives work well too. Don’t
add the lemon juice until you are ready to serve.
cup very thinly sliced fresh ramps or tender green onions
cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
cup finely chopped manzanilla or pitted Castelvetrano olives
tablespoon drained capers
teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground black pepper
the ramps or onions, parsley and oil in small bowl. Grate
the zest from the lemon into the bowl. Stir in the olives,
capers, salt and pepper. Just before serving, squeeze in 1
tablespoon juice from the lemon and serve.
information per tablespoon: 64 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g
sugar, 0 g protein, 102 mg sodium, 0 g fiber