Tuesday 18 September 2012

An open meal

The menu at my friend's house in Brazil

Following on from last week’s post, my subject today is one of the nicest meals I had in Brazil last month, at my friends Guilherme’s and Solange’s idyllic house in the mountains near Rio de Janeiro. Guilherme is an amazing artist and his paintings are very beautiful. When he cooks he translates the same beauty into his meals.

The dish I chose to post here was our starter. He told me that he had it at Gabrielle Hamilton’s restaurant in New York years ago and, since then, he added his own touch. "It is Solange's favourite", he says.

I am now adding my own touches and that is the way recipes fly around the world.

The main ingredients
Sautée  the spinach for about 1 minute
Cook the lasagne sheets as per packet instructions
Put the poached egg on the lasagne sheet
 layer the sautéed spinach...
and the ham
Cover them with another sheet of lasagne and place a
few leaves of spinach on top
Sprinkle some of the pine nuts in butter and garnish with micro herbs
pecorino cheese. My open ravioli! Enjoy!

 Open ravioli
Serves 4

What I love about this recipe is its simplicity and easiness. This can be eaten at a Sunday brunch, as a starter or just enjoyed as a light lunch.
It provides a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, fibre and mono-unsaturated fatty  fatty acid. And it tastes divine.


4 organic eggs
8 lasagne sheet
1 Tbsp olive oil
1bunch of organic spinach or any other bitter greens in season
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp pine nuts
4 slices organic prosciutto cotto or low-salt cooked ham
70g shaved organic Pecorino cheese
1 cup of micro leaves (rocket or watercress)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Sea-salt and ground black pepper


Bring a wide and deep sauté pan with water to boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer. Add white vinegar. Gently crack 4 eggs into individual ramekins then drop the eggs carefully into the water. Poach them until the whites are fully set but the yolks are still runny (approx. 2 minutes). Do not discard the water. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Pour some olive oil in a frying pan, add some chopped garlic and sautée the spinach leaves for 1 minute. Set aside

Add the butter to the same pan and cook over medium heat until it begins to turn brown and smell a bit nutty. Be careful not to burn the butter. Add the pine nuts and set aside.
Add the pasta sheets to the same pan of boiling water you poached the eggs, and cook the sheets as per packet instructions, or until cooked through. Take care not to overcook. Using the slotted spoon, gently transfer each to the serving bowls.

Then put a poached egg on the pasta sheet,  and layer the sautéed spinach and the ham.   Cover them with another sheet of lasagne and place a few leaves of spinach on top.

Season. Sprinkle some of the pine nuts in butter and garnish with micro herbs, balsamic vinegar (optional) and parmesan. Serve.

Some of the ingredients and their healthy benefits

Egg: it is a fantastic and inexpensive source of protein. It contains lecithin, which helps the body to break down fat and cholesterol. Lecithin is also a source of the B vitamin-like choline, which is necessary for brain development during pregnancy. Choline is an important nutrient for the prevention of fatty liver and is a neurotransmitter involved in many functions, including memory and muscle control. Egg also contains biotin, another B vitamin-like compound, which is very important for the digestion of fat and protein, and essential for the health of hair, skin and nails. Egg contains an antioxidant called glutathione - that prevents the formation of free radicals. It is very rich in Omega-3 fats, which prevent diabetes, obesity and depression. It contains vitamin A and E, folic acid and lutein (an antioxidant in the carotenoid family that helps to keep the eyes healthy and safe from oxidative stress).

Prosciutto cotto or cooked ham: is a good source of essential amino acids, which are very important for growth, repair and maintenance of the body tissues. The protein in prosciutto promotes a healthy immune system and lean muscle growth. Cooked ham provides vitamin A, which is good for the prevention of dry eyes and eye infections.
Caution: Prosciutto, or ham, contains high amount of sodium/salt. Ham is also high in calories but they can be balanced by increasing the consumption of fresh vegetables and salads.

Spinach (Spinacea oleracea): it is rich in iron, has abundant vitamin A and calcium. It helps cleanse the blood of toxins and facilitates bowel movements, helping in the treatment of constipation. It contains sulphur, which is beneficial for relieving herpes irritations. Caution: People who suffer from kidney stones should eat spinach in moderation due to an organic compound called oxalic acid, which if eaten in excess can inhibit calcium metabolism. Also avoid it if you have loose stools or urinary incontinence.

Guilherme cooking one of his delicious meals
His version of the open ravioli. He served with asparagus
instead of greens. 
Nothing like having a great meal with friends
I miss this place and you guys!
Thanks Gui and Sol!
Till next week!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. You're back from your hols in great form, Margot. This open lasagna looks (and sounds) gorgeous. It's definitely one for the "must try" list.


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