An Edible Toast to the Last Days of Spring
Literally. You put the flavors of spring on toast and eat them.
I THINK I MADE MYSELF CLEAR in the last bulletin about how much I love Susan Spungen’s latest cookbook, Veg Forward: Super-Delicious Recipes that Put Produce at the Center of Your Plate, which feels like it was made for people like you and me—the lifelong happy devourers of vegetables and fruits and legumes and herbs and grasses and grains and flowers. But it will also appeal to mere produce admirers, who wish to join our club. (How kind the Earth is to us! And how unkindly we repay it, by doing things like using pollution-spewing leaf blowers to remove something so light and harmless you could hire a baby to pick it up!)
The book is full of salads that I plan to make, but when I got my hands on it my eyes would not leave the page with this lovely and delicious ricotta topped toast, which you decorate with lightly sautéed favas and asparagus and shallots, as well as fresh herbs and lemon zest.
And when I found this fancy container of delicious whole-milk ricotta, I knew I had to make the dish. You don’t need to be quite this flamboyant with your cheese—it’s a splurge I am enjoying and will not apologize for—but please do use fresh, good quality ricotta and not the bland cheap stuff with no flavor and that bizarre mashed-potato consistency.
One note: I am still finding favas at the farm markets around me, but Spungen mentions in the recipe that you may also use fresh or frozen green peas in their place.
As shocking as it might be to those of you who have been with the Department of Salad since the fall of 2020 (thank you; I adore you), and who know how long-winded I can be, that’s really all I have to say right now. That, and: You’re crazy if you don’t make this dish, especially if you wish to eat every last verdant bite left in these final days of spring. And that you shouldn’t leave out the lemon zest or the drizzle of olive oil at the end.