Things on toast. Who doesn’t love them? Considering the idea that just about anything spread on toast gets people excited, I figured I would offer a slightly different play on the idea. Avocado, goat cheese, ricotta and hummus are now staple spreads in many of our houses but Farmer’s cheese might be a new one to you. In celebration of the spring bounty at the market, here are three variations of farmer’s cheese crostini that are really easy to create. I was actually able to use ingredients I already had in the house to pull these together and they were a beautiful bunch…all equally delicious. You are now ready for spring entertaining!
What is Farmer’s Cheese?
Farmer’s cheese is a cultured soft cheese that has been pressed to remove the majority of the water. What remains is a soft, probiotic rich curd that is dry enough to cut with a knife but moist enough to spread. It has a mild flavor similar to ricotta or cottage cheese.
The Crostini: all you need is a nice baguette and guess what, it can be gluten-free if you want it to be! Day old bread works well for this type of recipe. Slice the baguette and season the slices with olive oil. A basting brush works well to evenly coat the slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. They will be golden and crisp. You can rub the baked slices with raw garlic for extra flavor.
These pairings are proof you can whip up a beautiful tasting board with items you have on hand. Yes, I bought the farmers cheese as the base to these bites but the other ingredients were already hanging out in my house!
Dandelion Greens and Dried Harissa: Dandelion greens are a staple green in my fridge this time of year. While they are not a cruciferous vegetable they are still ridiculously nutrient dense and they are great detoxifiers. I cut the bitterness of the greens by quickly sauteing them with some olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh orange juice. I topped the greens with orange zest and dried harissa but you could use red pepper flakes.
Salted Strawberries and Honey: Need I say more? This is essentially a sophisticated version of strawberries and cream. I tossed fresh strawberries in a squeeze of fresh orange juice. Nestle the berries onto the cheese and then drizzle it with honey. Top with with some coarse sea salt and savor the bliss.
Asparagus, Pesto and Hemp: Pesto is one ingredient that I always have on hand as I can add it to a variety of foods like eggs, pasta, and even a tomato salad. For this pairing, I blanched a few asparagus in simmering water until they were bright green (1-2 minutes). I then shocked the asparagus in cold water to cool them and ensure they would be bright green. So, onto the farmers cheese went a dollop of pesto. I actually added some raw dandelion greens to the base of the pesto to give it an extra little kick. The asparagus gets to hang out on top. I finished this one with a sprinkle of lemon zest and hemp seeds which adds texture and a delightful dose of nuttiness.