Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cheese Biscuits with Aromatic Bay Leaves

This recipe originally came from Cato's book, On Agriculture, from the 2nd Century BCE.  It is the oldest surviving work of Latin prose.  The book is written in a random fashion and is more of a manual intended for friends and neighbors than true literature.  It is an excellent depiction of farming life in the Roman Republic and includes such gems as where to buy your togas and shoes (Rome) or oils (Pompeii) as well as how to make pesticides and where to locate your kitchen or cellar.  The inspiration for these biscuits comes from Cato's belief that sharing a meal and the dinner table creates friends.

I set the oven to 375 and greased a baking sheet.  I mixed together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.  I mixed in ricotta cheese and an egg until it was all combined.  Scoop rounded teaspoon fulls onto the baking sheet.  I crumbled a dried bay leaf and Parmesan on the top of the biscuits.  I baked about 20 minutes until they were golden brown. 

I only got about 9 of these, but maybe we have bigger teaspoons than they did!  Again, they should have been served warm, but I served them the next morning.  They were still really, really good.  The bay leaf had almost a rosemary-like flavor and made them quite savory and delicious.

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