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Ricotta and Pea Crostini with Tarragon and Pink Peppercorns

This delicately flavored and out-of-the-ordinary appetizer is a welcome addition to a spring dinner or cocktail party. Whole-grain bread is delicious for the crostini, but a traditional French baguette works nicely as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. sliced green garlic, or 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled English peas
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 24 thin baguette slices
  • Pink peppercorns for garnish

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a heavy fry pan over medium heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the green onion and green garlic and sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add the peas and the 1 1/2 Tbs. minced tarragon and stir to coat. Add the water and a sprinkle of salt, and cook until the peas are tender and almost all of the water has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer the pea mixture to a food processor, add the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days before continuing.)

Arrange the baguette slices on a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.

Spread the toasts thickly with the pea puree and return them to the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and heat just until the puree is warmed through, about 7 minutes.

Arrange the crostini on a platter, sprinkle with some pink peppercorns and tarragon leaves and serve immediately. Makes 24 crostini.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Garden Cookbook, by Jeanne Kelly (Weldon Owen, 2013).