Bruschetta w/ Fresh Ricotta & Minted Lima & Green Pea Mash

Bruschetta w/ Fresh Ricotta & Minted Lima & Green Pea Mash

~Seasonal School of Culinary Arts

Area teaching chefs count this week-long cooking school at Warren Wilson College a rewarding journey of culinary education. Run by Chef Susi Seguret Gott, chefs commit one day to teaching a class to attendees, who come to enjoy the incredible foods and wines in this area and learn how to cook them. The week runs concurrent with a session of the Swannanoa Gathering, a music-filled workshop series conducted on campus.

One year’s theme, Cooking With Wine, brought renowned chefs and students to classes by day; in the evening, local wine purveyors and vignerons conducted wine tastings. This summery bruschetta was the first course during one such tasting. A soft pillow of homemade ricotta was spread on toasts, topped with a lightly minted lima bean and garden pea pesto; the dish was paired with a refreshing Portugese Vinho Verde.

Cook’s Note: Use roasted purple potato slices instead of the bread toasts. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place them, in an even layer, on a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush olive oil on both sides of the potato slices and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Roast until browned on bottom, 10 to 15 minutes; flip and roast until they are tender and lightly-browned on the other side, about 10 minutes. Place on a serving platter in a single layer, and let them cool Spoon a dollop of goat cheese and mash on each.

Makes about 2 dozen appetizers

For Fresh Ricotta:

  • 6 cups whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    For Bruschetta:

  • 1/2 Narrow loaf French or Italian bread, sliced diagonally 3/4-inch thick
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
    For minted pea mash:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed baby lima beans
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    For serving:

  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Microgreens, optional

Prepare the bruschetta: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the bread slices liberally with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until toasty, 8 to 10 minutes. Let them cool.

Prepare the fresh ricotta; Line a colander with 2 layers of cheesecloth and place in the sink. Heat the milk and salt in a large, heavy saucepan until it is almost simmering, or a thin layer of foam forms on the top and tiny bubbles form around the sides of the pan. A thermometer will read about 180 degrees F. . Remove from the heat and pour in half of the lemon juice, stirring about 20 seconds. The milk will begin to clot. Stir in the remaining lemon juice, stirring about 1 minute. Let the mixture stand 10 to 15 minutes.

Gently pour the mixture through the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let it drain 1 minute. (Curds will still be wet.) Transfer the curds to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Prepare the lima and pea mash: Cook the lima beans in boiling, salted water to cover until tender, about 20 minutes; add the peas to the cooking water after 15 minutes of cooking time. Drain well and let them cool completely.

With the food processor running, drop the garlic through the food chute and process until the garlic is minced. Add the mint, cilantro, Parmesan, and olive oil; pulse until the herbs are minced. Add the lima beans, peas, lemon rind, and salt; pulse until the mixture is coarsely mashed.

To serve, spread about 2 teaspoons of the ricotta on each piece of toast; spoon and spread about 2 teaspoons of the lima and pea mash on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle lightly with pepper; if desired, drizzle each bruschetta with about 1/4 teaspoon olive oil. Garnish with microgreens or pea ten-drils, if desired.

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