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Spring Ricotta Salad

By Nonesuch restaurant, Oklahoma City, dubbed “America’s Best New Restaurant 2018” by Bon Appétit magazine

Cabbage

“The idea behind this dish is to make a fresh, versatile base of ricotta to highlight wonderful springtime vegetables,” says Kyle Kern, general manager of Nonesuch. “Feel free to substitute any vegetables in the base recipe for your own seasonally available favorites. The only ‘special equipment’ you will need is cheese cloth and a thermometer.”

Serves about 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • ½ gallon of whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar
  • 4 ounces radish
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 4 ounces English peas
  • 4 ounces asparagus
  • 4 ounces snap peas
  • Good olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Make the ricotta: Pour the half-gallon of milk into a medium pot. Set stove to medium heat and whisk occasionally to prevent scorching. Bring the milk up to 180° F, then add in the lemon juice/vinegar. Whisk gently for five seconds to incorporate. Remove pot from heat and let the curd set for at least 15 minutes. You may place the mixture in a refrigerator overnight for a firmer cheese. Once to desired thickness, strain through cheese cloth. You may discard the whey or use it for other recipes. The cheese should be enjoyed fresh but can last up to a week in the fridge.

Prep vegetables: In another medium pot, bring well-salted water to a boil. While water gets to temperature, wash and dry vegetables. Slice the snap peas on a bias. Slice the radish thinly. Slice the asparagus into bite-size pieces, then place in water to blanche for about one minute. Remove and dry. Blanche the English peas for up to 30 seconds, and remove and dry.

Bring it all together: Zest and juice Meyer lemons and set to the side. In a bowl or on a plate, dollop ricotta as you see fit. Arrange vegetables on and around the ricotta. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, garnish with lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste.