This is the kind of thing you make when you get home from the farmer’s market with a armload of SPRING GREENS! It’s also the kind of thing you can make in the dead of winter, or in that annoying time between winter and spring when spring was supposed to have arrived by now, also known as April. Leeks, spinach and arugula are always around, and when you puree them, fold them into little doughy pockets and float them in a light broth, you can fake it (spring) until you (it) make it (actually shows up).
Spring Bundles in Leek Broth
2 leeks, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, halved lengthwise, then halved crosswise
2 scallions, trimmed
2 celery ribs, trimmed and quartered
4 large sprigs of parsley
2 bay leaves
8-10 whole black peppercorns
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 c packed spinach, steamed until soft, cooled and squeezed dry
1 c packed arugula, steamed until soft, cooled and squeezed dry
1/2 c peas, fresh or frozen, steamed until tender and cooled
1/4 c packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 c ricotta
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white
24 fresh wonton or dumpling wrappers
Handful of chopped fresh parsley, chives, basil or mint, for serving
Cover leeks, scallions, celery, bay leaves, parsley, peppercorns and 2 tsp of salt with 2 litres (8 cups) of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leek, scallions, celery, bay leaf, parsley and peppercorns. Cover and keep on a low simmer for boiling the bundles.
Meanwhile add the spinach, arugula, peas and basil to the bowl of a food processor and process to a paste, scraping down the sides as you go. Add the ricotta, season with salt and pepper and process until fully blended. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the egg white and process until combined. Lay the wonton wrappers in a single layer on a baking tray or clean work surface and working quickly, drop a scant 2 teaspoons of the filling into the centre of each wrapper. Get a small bowl of water, dip your finger in and wet the edges of each wrapper all around. With dry hands, pinch the corners and then the sides up to meet in the centre and seal tightly but gently with a twist. If the bundles are ready before the broth is done cooking, cover them gently with a damp towel.
When the broth is done, lower the bundles carefully into to the simmering water and raise the heat to keep it at a steady simmer. Boil bundles for 3 minutes, until the shells have turned an opaque sand colour and are cooked through. If they stick to the bottom of the pan, nudge them gently with a wooden spoon once they are cooked, which is when they’ll be easier to move without risk of breaking. If one or two break, the broth will be cloudy but even more flavourful. Work in batches as needed and transfer cooked bundles with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm. Serve bundles and broth in bowls, topped with chopped herbs.
Makes 6 servings.