This summer has been a hot one, full of humidity, sunshine, and the opportunity to sit outside on a Sunday morning enjoying the breeze and birds chirping. It is SUMMER! The reason why all midwesterners persevere thru long winters – to enjoy these months of sunshine and green grass.
That season change as the world comes alive combined with the warmth, makes me desire fresh fruit. Don’t misunderstand, I like fruit all year long, but there is nothing better than a fresh fruit salsa or frozen grapes or sliced watermelon on a hot summer day.
It was a hot summer day when I hosted bookclub and this was the appetizer to the pulled pork fun. I found out later that many put this salsa on their pulled pork and loved that, too.
There is an art to the presentation that can be so fun with appetizers. Pulling out a large cutting board or just putting some parchment in the middle of table and spreading out the all of the different treats and tapas, here we come. Similar to a chartuserie board, there is a freeing feeling to multi-option apps, because everyone can make it there own and you can enjoy different things each time.
The serving of choice for me was ricotta on baggette topped with salsa, but salsa on a rutabaga or cucumber slice was a very close second. I will say that at the end of the day, there were some veggies left, but the bread was gone…I know what the favorite of this group was.
The ‘SS’ in SS Ricotta Spread stands for Sweet and Spicy. Modifying spreadables is an easy, but impactful way of upping the game on entertaining. I remember back when I worked Crate and Barrel part-time and a coworker wasn’t sure what to make on a date night. Simple answer, start with warm bread and honey butter, wine chilled and open for 20 minutes and then the entree you feel most comfortable making (less stress).
The Sweet and Spicy Ricotta ups that game by incorporating the four main flavor profiles making the ricotta a vessel to shine. Heat with red pepper flake, Sweet with the honey, Acid with the lemon zest and Salty with the sea salt.
Similar to modifying butter, modifying ricotta could not be easier. Pour ricotta in a bowl, add the topping, stir to combine, and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Then enjoy on your favorite toast, bread, veggie, etc. Just make sure to make enough cause it will go fast.
Tropical Salsa w/ SS Ricotta Spread and Baguette
Tropical Salsa Ingredients:
- 3/4 fresh Pineapple, diced
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 1/2 medium size red onion, diced
- 10 oz package grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 jalepeno, seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbls fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 Tbls honey
- Juice of 1 1/2 limes
- Sea salt, to taste
SS Ricotta Spread Ingredients:
- 15 oz container ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbls honey
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Toasted baguette, sliced
- Sliced cucumber
- Peeled and sliced rutabaga
Prep by chopping and dicing pineapple, mango, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro and place in a large bowl. In a separate, small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together lime juice, honey, ginger and garlic.
Pour lime mixture over the fruit and stir to combine. Taste and salt as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge as you prep ricotta, bread and veggies.
SS Ricotta Preparation:
Add ricotta to bowl and top with honey, red pepper flakes and lemon zest. Stir to combine and salt, if needed. Cover and keep in the fridge for flavors to marry and stay chilled until serving.
Bake bread per package instructions. Slice cucumber at an angle for serving. Cut the top and bottom off the rhubarb. You will see a line around the edges, cut/peel until you are past the line and the slice into similar size pieces to the cucumber for serving.
Arrange everything on serving platter or cutting board and start entertaining.
*Experimental Spoon original recipe.