Spinach and Curd Cheese Drop Scones with a Scotch Bonnet Dressing by Carina Contini of Contini Restaurants in Edinburgh

Ingredients: Serves 4 as a starter

200g young spinach leaves

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25g unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

225g curd cheese

2 eggs, separated

1 small spring onion, very thinly sliced

50g plain flour

Little freshly grated nutmeg

Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

Scotch Bonnet Dressing:
 

200g crème fraîche

50g flat-leaf parsley, leaves only

50g mint leaves

1 Scotch bonnet chilli, top and seeds removed

1/2 spring onion, chopped

Juice of 1 unwaxed lime

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and black pepper

Method:

1. Pan-fry the spinach in a little butter over a low heat just until the leaves have wilted. Season with a little salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain in the sink. When cool, squeeze any excess water from the spinach using your hands, then chop the spinach very finely. Set aside. If the spinach is too chunky, the batter will be very lumpy and difficult to fry.

2. In a large mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream together the curd cheese, egg yolks, spring onion, flour, nutmeg, lemon zest and black pepper and salt to taste. Fold in the spinach. Beat the egg whites until stiff in a clean, dry bowl, then gently fold them into the spinach mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan or flat griddle plate over a medium heat but don't add any butter or oil. It’s important that the pan should be at a moderate, even temperature. If it’s too hot the batter will burn and if it’s too cold, it will stick. Ladle 1 tbsp of the batter into the pan. Leave it until you see the edges changing colour. Using a spatula, flip the drop scone over and cook for 1 minute until the underside has coloured but not burned. Remove from the pan and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Repeat until you have used up all the batter. Keep the scones in a low oven until you are ready to serve.

4. To make the dressing, blend all the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper.

5. To serve, remove the scones from the oven and pour the dressing in a bowl for dipping.

In association with Taste Communications.

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