Now that our garden is bustin' outta the ground, we're eating veggies any way we can think of, especially raw. This week I've been playing with an idea I saw in New York Magazine, a garden crudite that is served at Daniel Boulud's restaurant, Boulud Sud.
We're growing Hakurai turnips, radishes, and peas and our friends at Roots to River Farm sent over some micro carrots and baby fennel. These babies are so beautiful that it's almost hard to cook them (although Shelley gets over that fast and has been creating the most wonderful turnip tart tatins). So I've been whipping some homemade ricotta with herbs and lemon and sticking the veggies in it, then sprinkling a "dirt" made from dehydrated black olives over the ricotta. When folks sit down to the table the crudite is waiting for them. They think it's a bouquet, which it is. Just an edible one.
Garden Crudite in Olive Dirt
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
1 cup oil-cured olives
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/3 cup mixed fresh herbs such as; mint, parsley, chives
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Baby vegetables such as; fennel, radishes, turnips, peas, pea shoots
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the olives on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until they are dehydrated, about 30 minutes. (Check the olives frequently after 25 minutes.) Remove the pits if necessary, then pulse the olives in a food processor until finely ground.
Beat the ricotta together with the herbs, zest, juice, and salt and pepper to taste with an electric mixer.
Mound the ricotta on a serving plate and place the vegetables in the ricotta, standing up. Sprinkle the olives around and over the ricotta. Serve.