MOREL + PEA TARTINE
Recipe by Erin Hawley
Spring is such an exciting time in the kitchen. As warm weather rolls in, eager little shoots and sprigs with bright, sweet, vegetal flavor poke their heads through chilly soil. Fiddlehead ferns, ramps, asparagus, and strawberries are all harbingers of good things to come. But our personal favorites springy things to eat? Peas + Morels. Head over to the Journal to make our Pea and Morel Tartine, featuring homemade ricotta - a surprisingly easy way to make use of excess milk. And pour yourself a fresh and lively wine with good acid, like Gruner Veltliner or Muscadet while you’re at it.
What You'll Need:
- 4 thick slices of toasted hearty bread (Asheville folks, you know you're gonna want some Farm + Sparrow Market Bread for this)
- 6 ounces morels, cleaned, larger ones sliced lengthwise
- 1 medium leek, cleaned and thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 cup homemade ricotta
- 3/4 cup pea purée
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt + pepper to taste
Making Ricotta: (don't worry, it's easy. This one's based on Alice Water’s recipe from her lovely book, My Pantry)
- 4 cups whole milk, preferably raw
- 1.5 tablespoons white vinegar (white wine vinegar or rice vinegar work fine, too)
- 1/2 teaspoon of good salt
Heat milk in a saucepan until it reaches 190°F, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Pour in vinegar and lightly stir, until the temperature raises back up to 190°F. If you don’t see any white curd chunks forming add more vinegar, 1/2 tsp at a time, until you do. Turn of heat and leave for 10 minutes, untouched. Meanwhile, place cheesecloth over a bowl. Gently ladle in the curds from the saucepan (you can save the whey for another use). Slowly stir salt into curds. If you want your ricotta more firm, leave it to drain thoroughly in the cheesecloth, or if you like it creamier, leave a bit of the whey in.
Making the Pea Pureé
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- just a splash heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
Cook peas in a large pot of salted, boiling water until tender- 4 minutes for fresh, 2 minutes for frozen. Remove from pot and shock them in an ice water bath. Meanwhile, melt butter and heavy cream in a pot over low heat until butter is melted. Place peas in a food processor or blender and slowly add butter-cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let cool.
Make + Assemble Tartines:
In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Add morels and cook 2 minutes more until they are tender and have released their juices. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Smear the toasted bread with ricotta, and top with pea purée and the morel-leek mixture. Garnish with lemon zest, olive oil, and a few flakes of sea salt.
Best enjoyed outside with a glass (or two) of minerally, fresh wine with good acid - try a Grüner Veltliner or Muscadet.