POSTED ON APRIL 18, 2013
The great thing about a well designed snack is you can use it as an appetizer, amuse bouche, small plate etc. for guests or a dinner party. This is a great example of one of those eat-at-home-alone or dress-it-up-for-guests snacks.
This little bite makes me want to put ricotta on everything. I’ve gone through pints of the mild, creamy cheese in the last week just in order to combine it with anything I can find hoping to make it as unbelievable as it is with cracker, radish, salt and pepper.
All you need to have for this simple recipe is a thin, crisp but sturdy cracker, fresh creamy ricotta, some thin sliced vegetables to top it with and a pinch of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Pickled veggies are the best choice, but you can substitute fresh if needed. (And you can always order pickled radishes from Kitchen Eclectic! See contact to order!)
It’s a tasty trick for left overs, too. Top the crackers and ricotta with bits of a left over salad, last night roasted veggies, bolognese or tomato sauce...
When making your own ricotta, the most important thing to pay attention to is the temperature of the milk. If it starts to boil – or really even simmer – it’s going to scorch and your cheese is going to taste like burnt milk. Use a candy thermometer to watch as the milk raises to 180F.
The cheesre can be made as creamy or as dry as you like, it only depends on how long you drain it. Once it gets dry (like below) some people start to call it farmer’s cheese. I’ve also understood that farmer’s cheese technically requires rennet, which ricotta does not. I’m not sure what the truth about that is, but I do know I love this cheese and I make it all the time – moist, dry, and in the middle depending on the dish.
1 quart whole milk (preferably unpasteurized, cream top if available)
1 cup heavy cream or buttermilk (depending on your taste preference)
1T white vinegar
1. Heat milk and cream slowly on stove top to 180 degrees, stirring
2. While heating, line a strainer or fine colander with fine cheese cloth, doubled
3. Once milk has reached temperature, take off heat immediately and slowly
add vinegar, salt and stir very gently just to mix.
4. Cover for approximately 30-40 minutes. DO NOT stir during this time.
5. Once you see the curds start separating, pour carefully into your lined
strainer, tie the cloth on the faucet of your sink to continue draining until it reaches the your desired consistency. Stir lightly with a fork,
taste and add salt as desired.
Try adding lemon zest or fresh herbs after its done. Or for dessert, some fresh and macerated fruit.