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Monday, June 20, 2011

My all time favorite appetizer

I scour other foodie blogs and found bits and pieces of this dish and put them together. It's more amazing with fresh ricotta, but if you buy good organic ricotta, it's still pretty darn amazing. The flavors of all the dishes combine beautifully and can be prepared in advance. Ricotta, roasted tomatoes, olives, artichokes and crostini = LOVE!

HERBED RICOTTA WITH ROASTED TOMATOES AND ARTICHOKE SPREAD AND CROSTINI
(Adapted from two of my favorite blogs - Smitten Kitchen and Lottie&Doof)
Photo Credit: Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 1 generous cup of ricotta

3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (see Note above about using less)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

HERBED RICOTTA

1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta (I cheated here and used store bought since I was pressed for time, but FRESH is SO much better)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
olive oil

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Mix the ricotta, thyme, salt, and peppers in a small bowl and drizzle some good quality olive oil over the top.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. If tomatoes are large, cut in half.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tomatoes are wrinkling and beginning to release juices. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

ARTICHOKE + OLIVE SPREAD
In addition for making great crostini, we tossed some of the leftover paste with pasta for dinner that next night and it was delicious. I think it would be especially good in a cold pasta dish, like a salad.

1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup large green pitted olives
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 large slices of crusty bread
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, process the garlic, olives, capers, artichoke hearts and olive oil to a coarse paste.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Toast the bread on the oven rack for 6 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Spread the olive paste thickly over the toasts and serve.

Do ahead: The olive paste can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let it return to room temperature before using.

Crostini

Baguette or loaf of country style bread, cut into 1/4 inch slices
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange bread in single layer on a baking sheet. Brush tops of bread lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Beautiful- - -don't ya think????

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


1 comment:

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