Published on: Friday, 05 April 2013 15:24:00.
Last week we organized a painting and cooking event at our art club. It was very interesting to see what artists can do with food. And at the end, we ate the art. Besides various edible "paints" we provided vegetables, which are well-suited to creating works of art. At the end we had four beautiful stalks of chicory left over. Chicory leaves are white and tender, but also thick and fleshy, which reminded me of lasagna noodles. Thus, an idea was born: a "chic" low-carb lasagna.
Chic Lasagna to serve 4
|100 g (4 oz)||Parmesan|
|1 tbsp||lemon juice|
|500 g (1 pound)||ground beef|
|2||cloves of garlic|
|2 tbsp||tomato paste|
|200 ml (1 cup)||vegetable broth|
|100 g_(4 oz)||butter|
|400 g_(16 oz)||cream|
|50 g (2 oz)||almond flour|
|25 g (1 oz)||gluten|
For our lasagna, we'll prepare each of the 3 elements separately - chicory, meat sauce, and bechamel sauce. The meat sauce is really nothing special, and my chosen ingredients are just a suggestion. Most cooks have a favorite version of this; you can substitute your own. What's important for this lasagna is that the sauce should not be too wet. Unlike regular lasagna noodles, chicory leaves don't absorb water. But if a sauce is too liquid or not creamy enough, you can usually fix it by cooking it longer. This is true for the bechamel sauce, where we'll start by melting butter and then toast almond flour in it. Add the cream and finally the gluten, stirring well. Don't forget the spices!
Many people don't like to use chicory in the kitchen because it can have a bitter flavor, caused by the chemical lactucopicrin. This is mainly found in the inner stem and in leaves that have already started to turn green. For that reason, we'll only use the very light-colored leaves. Blanch them in salt water with a little lemon juice (so that they retain their beautiful yellow color) for 5 minutes and then drain them. Leave the chicory in the colander for a while so that all the water drains off or evaporates.
When all your ingredients are ready, it's time to layer the lasagna. The meat sauce goes first, then the chicory, then the bechamel sauce. To give our lasagna visual appeal, I arranged the larger chicory leaves around the edge of the dish pointing toward the center and then lay the smaller leaves near the center and pointing toward the edge. Altogether, we fit six layers into our baking dish (meat, chicory, bechamel, meat, chicory, bechamel). With the top layer, make sure that the chicory is completely covered by the bechamel. Otherwise the leaves will burn. I also sprinkled some Parmesan in between. Now bake the lasagna at 350° F (180° C) for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle the top with finely-grated Parmesan, and then bake at 400° F (200° C) until the Parmesan is browned.
Not only does this recipe look like traditional lasagna, but the taste is very similar. The chicory leaves have the texture of lasagna noodles cooked perfectly al dente. They have no bitter taste. In my opinion, lasagna is the most "chic" thing you can make with chicory!
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