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Crostini with Farmer Cheese, Radish, and Dill Spread

Posted By admin On September 24, 2009 @ 11:10 am In Appetizers, Hors D'Oeuvres, & Canapes,Breakfast & Brunch,RadioGastronomy Favorites | 1 Comment

“I always wanted to be a farmer.  There is a tradition of that in my family.” -Björk, eccentric Icelandic singer, avant-garde composer, producer, and actress

I used to date a lovely lad named Jeremi, whose family is equally lovely.  They live in an incredible apartment on Roosevelt Island overlooking the East River and the Manhattan skyline.  His Mom, Rita, is maybe one of the best cooks I have ever encountered in my life, and loved every single meal I ever ate at their beautiful home.  There were always the most interesting conversations around the dinner table (even when they were in Polish, I knew it was interesting!) and the most wonderful sense of family.  One of my favorite memories of eating with them were the amazing weekend breakfasts.  There were always amazing breads, cold cuts, cheeses, coffee – simple things, but really, really, REALLY good simple things.  Commonly served for breakfast was this recipe, which I learned by observation while I helped Jeremi julienne the radishes.

It’s a delicious, brilliantly simple combination of flavors, and is wonderful on every single cracker or bread or toast I’ve ever put it on.  I’ve often served it to guests as an appetizer while bottles of wine are opened, coats are taken, greetings and hugs are exchanged.  Here I’ve used it with my version of baguette crostini, which is just a fancy, snotty word for little toasts made out of thinly sliced baguette.  It’s a great way to use up day-old bread (or even two-day-old – who are we kidding here?), since the objective is to get it dried out and crunchy.

Crunchy, toasty baguette with soft, creamy, yummy cheese on top?  Uh, yes please.

Ingredients:

8-10 slices of leftover baguette, cut into slices about 1/4″ thick (NOTE:  You could use any toast or cracker, or even crudité.)

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1 1/2 cups of farmer cheese (NOTE:  I always use Friendship brand.  If unavailable, a good Ricotta will do.)

About 1/2 cup of milk (no skim, please)

3-4 medium-sized radishes, washed and julienned

About 4 tbsp. washed, roughly chopped dill

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.  Prepare a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Coat each side of the baguette slices with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange baguette slices on the sheet pan and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden-brown in color and dried out.

3.  While the bread is in the oven, prepare the spread mixture.  Put the farmer cheese in a large work bowl.  With a fork, work in the milk a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture has the desired consistency.  It shouldn’t be thin and runny, it should spread smoothly and maintain it’s shape.  Stir in a nice drizzle of olive oil and season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

4.  Add the julienned radishes and chopped dill and stir to incorporate.

5.  Remove crostini from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Spread each toast with some of the spread, arrange on a platter, and serve.

Yield: This recipe should make about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of spread, enough to cover lots of little toasts, crackers, and sneaky fingers



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