Recipe from Emeril LaGasse's New Book "Farm to Fork": Crostini with Ricotta and Spring Peas

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Emeril LaGasse’s newest cookbook, Farm to Fork (available June 1, 2010), embraces local, organic, healthy food and recipes. From the man who hosts the popular Emeril Green cooking show on the Discovery Channel, the book covers how to cook up leafy greens, herbs, milk, eggs, cheese, meats, fish, grains, homemade preserves and fresh fruit for every season. Emeril explains his love of good, healthy food and shares a recipe with Eco Chick readers below:

“I have had a connection with the soil since I was a young boy. This was kindled long ago, from my Uncle’s farm to our backyard vegetable garden which I tended to with my father. As I got older, I began to take part in the milking of cows and collecting eggs from the chicken coop. It was this experience that really taught me how a farm works. I made the connection between the food we buy at the market and the people who grow it and that really stuck with me. Once I became a chef and began honing my craft, I knew the most important thing was to use the freshest and the best ingredients I could find. I also recognized that those ingredients, whether it be seafood, meat, poultry, or produce, should be grown and harvested locally.”

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Healthy recipes with little to no cooking, ideal for hot summer weather, include Baby Limas, Green and Yellow Beans, and Teardrop Tomatoes with Mint Vinaigrette and Tomato Tartare and Micro Greens with Shallot vinaigrette to Turnip and Radish Slaw with Lump Crabmeat and Chive Oil and Fresh Mint Tea. Refreshing drinks also include Apple Tarragon Granita and fresh Watermelon Limeade. To top it off, fresh from the orchard, is Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart in a Sugar Cookie Crust and Apricot Clafouti.

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CROSTINI WITH RICOTTA AND SPRING PEAS

Fresh ricotta is actually a byproduct of cheese making as it is made from the whey that separates from the curd. It has a mild and slightly sweet flavor and a roughly creamy texture. Fresh ricotta is an incredibly versatile ingredient lending itself to both sweet and savory preparations.

Ingredients:
1 baguette or other crusty bread
¼ cup olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 14-ounce tub ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 ½ cup spring peas blanched in salted water, shocked and drained*
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 teaspoon chopped basil

Directions:
-Preheat the grill to medium-high
-Slice baguette into 24 3-inch oval slices, 1/4-inch thick. Brush one side of each slice with the olive oil and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8-teaspoon pepper. Grill on both sides until toasted. Set aside.
-Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt over 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Chop the garlic and mash with the blade of your knife until it is a paste.
-In a small bowl combine the garlic paste, ricotta, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon mint, shallots and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
-In another small bowl mash the spring peas with the back of a fork until there are no whole peas, and you have a mixture of pea halves and paste. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the remaining teaspoon mint, parmesan and basil. —Stir gently to combine.
-Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture onto a crostini. Spoon about 2 teaspoons pea mixture on top of the ricotta mixture. Repeat with remaining crostini. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top as desired.

Yield: 24 crostini, about 6 servings; 2 cups ricotta mixture; 1 ½ cups pea mixture

About Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan is editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life.

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