Monday, October 24, 2011

Mesclun and Ricotta Salata on Grilled Garlic Toasts

So this dish is a little random.  We ended up making it after I bought some really pretty mesclun blend from 5 lbs of Dirt at the farmer's market.  I know I have blathered on about them before so I am not going to do so again, but anyway, I had these gorgeous greens (with a pretty orange edible flower that I'm pretty sure I didn't eat) and I didn't want to do a plain salad.  I wanted something a little more fun.  And these crostini sounded fun/interesting.  Now I'm not sure that this needed to be eaten as a crostini.  I think I would have been just as happy with the dish (and it certainly would have been easier to eat) if the salad component had been served as a salad with the garlic toasts on the side.  Because what kept happening is that I would pick up my crostini to take a bite and everything would fall off - especially the little heirloom cherry tomatoes.  So I would end up having to eat the mesclun, tomatoes and ricotta salata off the plate with a fork every other bite.  In my mind, if you're having to do that you might as well just keep the salad on the plate and fork up a bite of salad, followed by a bite of bread, and so on and so forth.  With all that said, I thought this was a really nice side or starter.  It was light and fresh and it gave me another recipe to showcase the beautiful greens and some of the last heirloom tomatoes of the season.

Recipe after the jump!

Mesclun and Ricotta Salata on Grilled Garlic Toasts
Adapted from Gourmet
June 2002

2 large lemons, zested with a microplane
4 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3/4 cup olive oil
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country-style bread, halved diagonally
1 large garlic clove, halved crosswise
8 oz mesclun (8 cups)
3/4 lb grape tomatoes, halved
6 oz ricotta salata, roughly crumbled
Squeeze enough juice from lemons to measure 6 tablespoons. Whisk together lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper, then add 1/2 cup oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Brush both sides of bread slices with remaining 1/4 cup oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toast or grill, until golden, about 3 minutes total on a grill. Immediately rub 1 side of each slice with garlic.

Toss mesclun with tomatoes, half of zest, and enough dressing to coat, then season with salt and pepper.

Put toasts on salad plates and spoon some of remaining dressing over each. Top with crumbled cheese and salad on each toast and sprinkle with remaining zest.

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