My parents threw a Cuban-themed party last week and served made-to-order Mojitos. To make a long story short, my mom had about 2 pounds (yes, pounds) of leftover fresh mint. I promptly came to the rescue and packed up about half the amount for myself. I forsee a lot of minty recipes being featured on the site in the next week or so.
Anyway, I had a lot of mint. I also had a few people coming over for Sunday supper. I decided to make a ricotta spread with lots of mint, garlic and freshly ground pepper. Instead of just putting it in a bowl as a dip, I smeared it onto toasted baguette slices with a few drops of good olive oil and a pinch of pretty black poppy seeds.
The ricotta was creamy, the mint was refreshing and the olive oil lent a nice richness to the toasts. This spread would also be great on sandwiches with fresh greens and prosciutto or as a dip for pita chips or crudite. It was quite a hit with the supper crowd and makes an easy, delicious addition to the hors d’ oeuvres table.
Refreshing Ricotta & Poppy Seed Toasts
This recipe make a lot of little toasts. Feel free to use a single baguette or no baguette at all. If you’re making a dip or sandwich spread, simply add the olive oil and poppy seeds in with the rest of the ingredients.
15 oz. Ricotta cheese (whole-milk is better, part-skim is ok)
Leaves of 6 sprigs of fresh mint
2 large cloves garlic, or 3 – 4 smaller cloves
1 tsp. kosher salt or other coarse salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. good-quality olive oil
2 tbsp. black poppy seeds
2 baguettes, thinly sliced and toasted
If you have a blender or food processor, set it up. Add the ricotta, mint, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic cloves and mint leaves have broken up completely and are evenly distributed.
If you don’t have a blender or food processor, finely mince the mint and garlic (you might want to use a mortar and pestle with the garlic) and mix with the other ingredients.
Using the back of a spoon, smear the spread onto each baguette piece. Place a few drops of oil* onto each piece and then a small pinch of poppy seeds.
*To get just a few drops of oil, I like to use this trick: pour the oil into a small bowl. Dip the thick end of a chopstick (or other stick of similar diameter) into the bowl and sprinkle onto the toasts. This way you can control the exact amount you want and you don’t have that oh no! moment when you’ve gotten a bit too heavy-handed with the bottle.