Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Mint

Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Mint | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

By Janet Fletcher, Planet Cheese

Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Mint | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

We love the versatility of Wisconsin ricotta cheese. We’ve paired it with raspberry jam on a slab of rich pound cake. We’ve mixed it with yogurt cheese to create a dip perfectly suited for roasted vegetables. And we’ve baked it into a spread fit for any dinner party.

And now, we’re giving Wisconsin ricotta a slight spring makeover, because fresh spring produce deserves to be paired with a fresh and flavorful cheese.

Janet Fletcher is a James Beard award-winning journalist and all-around cheese expert, and she created this bruschetta recipe to match the rich flavor of Wisconsin ricotta with spring peas and a dash of parmesan. Garlic, pepper and lemon keep this appetizer nice and bright, the perfect thing to serve when hosting this spring. Add a few mint leaves and spread it all on a hearty, crusty bread and you’ve got something really special.

Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Mint | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Mint
By Janet Fletcher, Planet Cheese
Servings: 6
1/2 cup fresh peas, shelled; or frozen petite peas
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Wisconsin parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
2 teaspoons green onions or chives, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, plus additional to taste
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices day-old country-style bread, cut on the diagonal, approximately 4 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick
1 garlic clove, halved
Fresh mint leaves, torn, for garnish
Cooking Directions:
Bring small pot of water to boil over high heat; have ready a bowl of ice water. Plunge peas into boiling water, return to boil and cook until just tender: about 30 seconds for frozen peas, 3 to 5 minutes for fresh peas. Drain in sieve and immediately transfer to ice water. When peas are cool, drain again and pat dry.
Place peas in small food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped; do not purée. (Alternatively, you may chop peas with a knife.) Transfer to mixing bowl and fold in ricotta, parmesan, 1 teaspoon olive oil, green onions and lemon zest. Add garlic a little at a time, tasting as you go; you may not want it all. Season to taste with salt and several grinds of black pepper. Taste, adding more lemon zest if desired. Mixture should have a lively lemon taste.
Toast or grill bread on both sides; center should remain soft. Immediately rub one side of each toast with a halved garlic clove. Using remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, brush both sides of each toast with oil.
Transfer toasts to work surface, garlic-side-up. Top with ricotta spread, dividing evenly. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Garnish with torn mint leaves. Serve immediately.
* This recipe was inspired by the fava bean bruschetta at Bruschetteria, a food truck in St. Helena, California. In season, substitute shelled and peeled fava beans for the peas.