Source: Recipe and photo courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Sides that can double as starters are an operational bonus for a restaurant. Customers can order them as an accompaniment or an appetizer, or mix and match sides and starters to make a meal of small plates. At Hinterland, Chef Van Rite likes to pair local Wisconsin ingredients, such as the stinging nettles and cheese used in these malfatti.
2 to 3 tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup diced white onion
5 to 6 cups (about 7 to 8 oz.) nettles (tips only) or spinach leaves
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 cup (4 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
2 tbsp. grated lemon rind, grated
- In small skillet, melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Cook onion 3 to 4 minutes or until tender; set aside.
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Plunge nettles into water; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Drain and plunge into bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. Place in clean tea towel; squeeze and wring out as much liquid as possible. Coarsely chop.
- In large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Add onion, nettles, parsley, tarragon, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and lemon rind. Mix well. Shape into 24 (1½-inch) balls. Place on baking sheet. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
- Bring large pot of water to a boil. Carefully add half the malfatti at a time; simmer gently 1 to 2 minutes or until they float to surface. With slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining malfatti.
- In 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon remaining butter over medium heat. Sauté half the malfatti until browned, turning once. Remove and keep warm. Sauté remaining malfatti, adding remaining butter if necessary.
- To serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.