I clicked too soon. Wouldn't be the first time, I'm afraid. I didn't realize I wasn't done with Chef White just yet. Because as soon as I turned the page, I came across yet another no-brainer: crunchy vegetable salad with ricotta crostini.
Look, when the barometer is hitting the temperatures it has as of late matched up by nearly perverted humidity levels, I'm looking for something cool and quick and predominately vegetarian so as to allow more time for my head to hang out in the freezer. My mom is going to claim the rights to the ricotta crostini so let's just give it to her. She's realized (without White's guidance or approval) how down-right special a piece of charred bread can taste when smeared with a bit of ricotta and a thoughtful sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. It perks up any salad, any night of the week.
This recipe will undoubtedly be making repeat appearances (on a weekly basis) in my kitchen.
Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Foley for Food & Wine
Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Ricotta Crostini
6 slices of rustic white bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
1 garlic clove, halved
3/4 cup fresh ricotta
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
6 large radishes, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias
1 large carrot, finely julienned
1/2 small seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 head of Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces 2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped taragon
1. Preheat the broiler (I'm sorry, but that's not happening in my tiny kitchen at this point in the season. Either utilize the grill pan or throw the bread in the toaster until well toasted, nearly charred). Brush the bread with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat for about 1 minute per side, until golden. Lightly rub the cut sides of the garlic over the toasts and spread with the ricotta. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the white balsamic vinegar with the Dijon mustard and the 1/4 cup of olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Add the radishes, fennel, asparagus, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, basil, and tarragon and toss gently to coat. Serve the salad right away with the crostini.
Click here for the printable version of the recipe.