At the farmers' market this week, one of the new items to scoop up was fresh peas in their pods. Oh, the excitement and sheer joy of bringing home new seasonal produce. Now, I know this may not be everyone's reaction, but it's fun playing with food. As per usual though, I didn't have an inkling of what I would make but I knew I had to get me some peas.
Then off to our local organic market I wandered and found pea shoots. Again, not sure what their destiny would be but had to get them, too. Especially since it felt in keeping with the peas. I also found French Sourdough bread, which I grabbed in an effort to test how my wheat and yeast sensitivity would fair with this one.
Once I was home, I still didn't have a clue as to what I would do. But just when all hope seemed lost, I thought of ricotta. Whenever in doubt you can always count on cheese as your salvation. With that, I was off to the races with a plan in hand. I decided that I would celebrate some of the jewels of the season and feature them on crostini.
Now don't get too excited thinking I'm a genius. This is not some super "oh my God, what a innovative idea" moment. It's a just a few good pairings that are easy to assemble and even easier to enjoy. It's summer for Pete's sake. We all want no brainer food ideas. This one fits the bill.
Here are the stars of today's show.
French Sourdough Bread, Fresh Ricotta, Fresh Peas, Pea Shoots, Nectarines, Mint, Tomatoes, Basil
I almost feel silly giving any kind of instructions as this couldn't be easier, and it's pretty self explanatory, but...
First things first, toast the bread.
You can mix and match at will. One thing remains the same; dollop some the ricotta on each slice and then build each crostini using whichever of these flavor busting seasonal ingredients tickle your fancy to create your perfect crostini.
Here's what I did.
Pea-Pea Shoot Crostini
Shuck the peas and blanch them. You can also eat them raw. (Can't find fresh, use frozen ones and blanch.)
Top the bread with ricotta.
Add shoots & peas pressing them in.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Fresh Tomato-Basil Crostini
While still warm, rub the toasted bread with fresh garlic.
Top with ricotta, fresh slices of tomatoes, basil.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and olive oil.
Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roast grape tomatoes with oil and whole garlic pieces.
Mash the garlic with sea salt, pepper & oil.
Spread the garlic mash on the toast.
Add ricotta, roasted tomatoes, basil and drizzle with tomato juices.
Make a mint simple syrup by heating up equal parts sugar and water with mint leaves until sugar dissolves.
Drizzle the simple syrup on top of the bread.
Top with ricotta, nectarine, minced mint and drizzle some more.
It seriously doesn't get easier than this. These make a wonderful little afternoon snack. How about a luxurious breakfast treat. An elegant brunch item. Naturally these are ideal as a party appetizer.
So simple. So fresh. So seasonal.
These are but a few of the endless variations for crostini. But ones the truly celebrate the summer's seasonal offerings. Make one. Make them all.
A few other topping ideas:
Sautéed spinach with garlic, oil and red pepper flakes
Sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic, oil and shaved Parmesano Reggiano
Fresh figs drizzled with honey (you can also add chopped prosciutto)
Strawberries, fresh thyme sprinkled with raw sugar
Seriously, it's bread with cheese, top it with whatever floats your boat, and then happy sailing.