Saturday I zipped over to the Farmer's Market. Beautiful day but it was crazy with locals, tourists and chefs. I saw Mourad from Aziza (love him), Brett and Elan from Contigo (love them), Ravi from Prospect buying purple asparagus (love him too) and Jason Fox from Commonwealth (yup, love him too).
I needed a few things so I grabbed some freshly dug new potatoes, English peas (a bag for eight bucks and I got 1 cup!), some asparagus, cherries, sheep's milk ricotta, green garlic, fresh spearmint and some tiny fava beans.
As I drove home I had to think quickly about what I was going to cook. In a matter of minutes Liam Mayclem of Eye on the Bay would be knocking on my door for a taping and interview for his show and website, Foodie Chap.
And the cameras started to roll.
As we talked, (thank God I can cook, talk, tell jokes and entertain at the same time) I quickly sliced some Acme rosemary herb slab and toasted it on my tostapane I bought in Italy. Peeled a clove of garlic and rubbed it on the bread, kind of like using the toasted bread as a grater.
"You're a fourth generation professional cook, right?" Liam said.
I took a cup of the sheep's milk ricotta, which was very dry, and put it in the food processor with a tablespoon of heavy cream and a good drizzle of really nice California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. Don't forget the salt, I thought. I spread that on the garlic-ed toast.
"And you're taking a group of Americans to Morocco for a week of cooking and exploring in October. Can you tell us about it?" He said.
I shaved the asparagus with a knife into long diagonal pieces and cooked it in a frying pan in olive oil with a pinch of salt. I placed that on top of the ricotta. And I did a little chiffonade of mint. That's a fancy way of saying, I piled the leaves one on top of the other, rolled them up and cut them across into thin ribbons. I sprinkled that onto the top.
"Delicious!" Liam said as he ate about 5 crostini.
PS The show will air on KCBS the week of June 20 about 5 times a day for a week.
CROSTINI WITH SHEEP’S MILK RICOTTA, ASPARAGUS AND MINT
If you’re using a moist ricotta, drain for 24 hours in a cheesecloth-lined strainer. If it is dry, don’t drain.1 cup ricotta, sheep or cow
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 spears asparagus, shaved diagonally into thin slices
6 slices of coarse-textured bread
1 whole clove garlic, peeled
6 fresh mint leaves
In the food processor, blend the ricotta, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt to taste until well blended.
In a frying pan, warm the remaining tablespoon olive oil and cook the asparagus until almost tender but still bright green. Season with salt.
Grill, toast or broil the bread until golden and lightly crisp. Rub the bread with the clove of garlic, using the crispy bread like a grater. Spread the ricotta mixture on the bread, spreading evenly. Pile the mint leaves on top of each other and roll them up. Cut across into thin ribbons. Top with the mint and asparagus and serve immediately cut into serving size wedges.