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Posts Tagged ‘ricotta salata’

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As summer comes in with a bang – thunderstorms have been daily occurrences since the first day of summer at the end of June – I pay my respects to the last bit of spring on our menu.  I’ve talked about fiddlehead ferns in past posts, but since they are such a seasonal treat, I’d like to talk about them again.  Fiddleheads are not cultivated so the only way you can experience them is through picking them yourself or purchasing from a farmers market or local forager.  Plus I think they are only found in the United States in the northeast, but I could be wrong about this.  All of these things make them, I think, even more special.  I use them as a vegetable as well as a component in spring pasta dishes.  Our farewell batch turned into a lovely light dinner sautéed with some chopped garlic scapes in butter and extra virgin olive oil and then tossed with crumbled ricotta salata in homemade pasta.  I already am thinking about what next spring might bring.

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I was asked to make a Sunday dinner when we were visiting friends in Mill Valley (California) last month.  The days had been pretty chilly and damp so the menu was highlighted with a rich, winey beef stew BUT the star of the meal was the fresh porcini salad that began the feast.  The porcini had been foraged from the Marin hills just the day before – they were huge, dense, meaty, earthy, and oh! so delicious.  I gave them a quick sauté in extra virgin olive oil, laid them on some baby spinach leaves, sliced some ricotta salata over the top and drizzled the salad with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.  What could possibly be better – but it only works when you have a skilled forager knocking on your back door!  I can assure you that this doesn’t happen in New York City.

 

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