What do your heirloom recipes tell you about your family history? Take a look at these two comments I received in response to my post about spinach cuajado:
These two women, like me, are Ottoman Sephardim, and one thing’s clear: we all equate what I call spinach cuajado with Passover and Shabbat (Diane left her comment on a Friday and in that context), but not exclusively; unlike recipes that are set aside strictly for specific holidays, cuajado is so fundamental, we make it “whenever the spirit moves.” So, that’s the Sephardic experience with cuajado. Or peeta (pita). Or was it sfungato? Continue reading
We’re deep into summer now, and one of the nicest things to eat on a lazy summer day is cuajado and a fresh salad. There’s no need for a big spread every time you make a cuajado, as it’s quite filling on its own.
When my grandma and great aunt Reina were alive, we ate a lot of spinach cuajado (as opposed to my favorite, zucchini). When I was very young, the aroma of spinach & all those cheeses cheese baking in the oven was too intense for my sensitive little nose (which is no longer quite so sensitive nor, alas, quite so little). But once out of the oven, the flavors mellowed and I couldn’t get enough. Because spinach itself has a more intense flavor than zucchini, this cuajado needs a stronger cheese, too: pecorino romano instead of parmiggiano, which works perfectly with zucchini but would be too delicate here.
So here’s my recipe for the spinach, also adapted from my Aunt Reina’s. The sesame seeds aren’t traditional, though I wonder why. They are well within the bounds of tradition and a nice finishing touch with the spinach.