Cucumber “Crostini” with Whipped Dill Ricotta
MUSIC PAIRING: The Paper Kites, Twelvefour
Ricotta cheese is about as simple of a cheese as you can get. Actually, it’s not even a cheese at all as I’ve previously shared. I happen to love it and if you’ve never had it in its dried, aged form known as ricotta salata (salata means salted in Italian, by the way!), you better throw your shoes on and get to the store this minute. I could probably add or mix ricotta in to anything. It’s singularly noted enough to where you can really jazz it up in endless ways. That means fun experiments in the kitchen.
Since most of my dishes for the Bathtub Brewhouse tasting were on the indulgent side, I wanted to lighten things up a bit and offer something crisp and clean. Cucumber is so fresh, isn’t it? On an oppressively humid August evening in Georgia, I can tell you that these little bites were welcomed in a big way.
I did a play on a crostini here and used little pickling cucumbers as the “bread” which paired perfectly with the dill in the ricotta. There’s crunch, there’s acidity, there’s creaminess…it’s simply a nice, invigorating bite all around. Just try not to eat three hundred of them like I did.
Why The Paper Kites? They’ve got an easy sound that’s pleasant and happy. It was calming as I barreled on through three days of cooking which can very quickly become stressful and no fun at all if you’re not careful.
Recipe by: Valerie Albanese
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta (this is a time where you really want to splurge on the good stuff)
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- Zest of one lemon
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick for serving
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (I used a regular ol' hand mixer), beat cream cheese until smooth and pliable. Add ricotta, milk, olive oil, lemon zest and dill and season well with salt and pepper. Beat on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is less grainy and fluffed. Taste to be sure it's seasoned well.
- Top cucumbers with a dollop of ricotta and serve.
- Like the ricotta, this is where you'd splurge with your good olive oil, too. It makes a HUGE difference so treat yourself to the good stuff and keep it on hand for dishes like this where the oil really shines.