The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer has not left my counter top since it showed up. Yes, my Ninja airfryer is still there too but I might put it in the cupboard to use when I have multiple things to air fry. I use this thing daily for something. Sometimes I throw some rice or something in the bottom while I air fry veg and/or protein on top. It’s great for hard boiled eggs – a cup of water in the pot, rack on low, steam for about 14 minutes and then throw them in a bowl of ice water.
Last month, I shared my initial review of the Speedi. I have done all kinds of rice bowls but, right now however, I am all about the Steam & Crisp option. Initially unsure if it would be useful until I finally realized this is, basically, a compact combi oven.
Is The Ninja Speedi A Little Combi Oven?
A combi oven is an oven that uses either convection or steam but, more importantly, it can also use a combination of both, popular in restaurant kitchens. When using the combination function, both steam and convection work together to produce results that are moist, flavourful, and have minimal shrinkage. The Speedi is kind of an an affordable, home cook alternative, at the end of the day. This made me realize it would work on anything that high heat can dry out before you get a nice exterior.
For example, I have been using this feature to cook veg that can dry out in the air fryer or oven, like brussels sprouts or root veggies. For instance, halved brussels sprouts, tossed in a bit of olive oil, salt and a handful of small dice pancetta. Instead of air frying, I throw about 3/4 of a cup of water in the bottom and cook using Steam & Crisp for about 15 minutes at 450F. The pancetta crisps up but the excess fat drips down to the pot, the brussels sprouts are tender inside but crisp and super brown on the outside. Perfection.
Same with carrots, parsnips, turnip, squash and potatoes. You get the perfect combo of a tender, soft interior but, most importantly, a crispy exterior.
Lamb loin roast was a huge success.
Marinated in olive oil, kosher salt and rosemary, 2 cups of water in the bottom, tray on the low position. Used steam and crisp for 26minutes at 360F and was awarded with a perfectly cooked, tender roast but with a beautiful crust on the outside.
Sweet and Smokey Carrot and Parsnips on Ricotta Smear
serves 6-8 as a side dish
This recipe has four components but they can all be done before hand. You can make the honey butter and ricotta ahead of time. If you have them in the fridge, take the ricotta out an hour before serving and you will have to melt the butter again. Even the veg and the crispy peels can be made a few hours before, resting on the countertop. This is a side dish that shouldn’t be hot anyway. If you want to sub the herbs, please feel free to use whatever herbs you like.
Apart from serving as a side dish, I turn this into a main course by adding some nice bread to use to scoop up all that tasty ricotta. I think once you taste how delicious the crispy peels are, this will become a regular thing. Throwing away something that is so delicious is a crime!
1 lb carrots
3/4 lb parsnips
1 tbls cornstarch
*3-4 tbls of smokey honey butter
**Ricotta with Tahini and Herbs
fresh Italian parsley and dill, roughly chopped
thin strips of peels from the veg – using a vegetable peeler
1/2 tbls of olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
**Smokey Honey Butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tbls honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
zest from half a lemon
2 tsp olive oil
*Ricotta with Tahini and Herbs
3/4 cup ricotta
2-3 tbls of tahini
2 tbls chopped parsley
2 tbls chopped dill
zest from half a lemon
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 to 1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat on air fry for a few minutes at 400F.
Wash your carrots and parsnips and dry them off with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin strips of peel off of your carrots and parsnips and put them in a bowl.
Toss the peels with olive oil and salt and then heap them onto the crisper tray and cook for about five minutes. At this point, check them every minute and cook until nicely browned and crispy. Pour them out onto a paper towel, spread them out and set aside to crisp up.
To make the honey butter, put everything in a microwave proof bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, until melted and whisk together to blend.
Chop your carrots and parsnips into large chunks (about 2″). Toss with the cornstarch and then with the melted honey butter.
I cooked mine in two batches. Pour about 1 cup of water into the pot and keep the crisper tray on the low level. Put half the carrots/parsnips on the try and, flip the switch to Rapid Cook and set it to 400F on Steam and Crisp for 15 minutes. Halfway through, open the machine, give the veg a toss and close it and continue cooking. You will have to do this in two batches.
While the veg is cooking, put the ricotta and the tahini in a bowl and mix really well. Add in the chopped, fresh herbs, salt, zest and lemon juice and stir until combined.
If serving family style, spread the ricotta on a large plate or serving platter. For individual servings, divide it up amongst the plates. This is the base for your carrots/parsnips.
Let your veggies cool a bit or you can let them sit until they reach room temp, just don’t pile them on the ricotta while they are super hot.
Now, heap the carrots and parsnips on top of the ricotta mixture. Drizzle the remaining honey butter all over the top. Cover that with the a heap of the crispy peels. Scatter more roughly chopped herbs and then a handful of toasted pine nuts.