Spring is the time of new beginnings when fresh shoots and early leaves offer a taste of the season to come. Like a teen, these less mature greens are a contrast of nice and naughty – tender yet sharp in flavors that will develop and smooth with maturity. In this simple recipe, chopped ramps add bite and attitude to fluffy ricotta which is smeared over crostini and topped with a jumble of sweet, tender pea shoots. Little else is needed except a pinch of fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon to shout spring and make these crostini pop.
Note: This recipe is a finalist this week in Food52′s recipe contest for “your best allum.” Head over to Food52 and check out the contest and all of the other delicious goodies on their site, which just received an award from the James Beard Foundation for Publication of the Year!
Crostini with Ramps and Shoots
Ramps are wild leeks and resemble a scallion. Their long, broad green leaves and burgundy tinged bulb are edible. Green garlic is young garlic and also resembles a scallion. Green garlic may be substituted for the ramps.
8 one-inch thick baguette slices, sliced on the diagonal
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped ramps or green garlic, bulbs and stems only
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Generous handful pea shoots
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly brush bagette slices with olive oil. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden brown on both sides, turning once, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove.
Mix ricotta, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper in a bowl until fluffy. Stir in ramps, mint and lemon zest. Spread ricotta on baguette slices.
Top crostini with a large pinch of pea shoots. Drizzle a little olive oil over crostini, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt and black pepper.