Lemon Ricotta Pea Salad
- English Peas - Cook on medium-high heat in plenty of salted water for approximately 4 minutes, or when the peas are still plump & green, but they start to float to the top immediately transfer to a colander, add ice, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process until cool to the touch. If you can’t find fresh peas, simply use frozen but blanche them very quickly in about 1/2 the time above so they don’t overcook, or steam in the microwave.
- Homemade Ricotta (see recipe below)
- Fresh Mint
- Fresh Italian Parsley
- Lemon 1 lemon for zest and juiced to dress the salad
- Green onions 1 bunch, sliced finely
This recipe mixes together light and fresh ingredients with a creamy dressing to create the ultimate Salad. This is especially true if you are enjoying it on a hot day.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until combined. Set aside. This can be made a couple of days before and put in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In another bowl, mix cooked and cooled peas, chopped mint & parsley, sliced green onions, and lemon zest in another bowl, and set aside until ready to serve, then mix with lemon ricotta dressing, above and garnish with sprigs of fresh mint, parsley, and more lemon zest.
Note: The pea salad can be made a day before and kept in the refrigerator until ready to assemble and serve. Leftover salad keeps 2-3 days in the refrigerator as well.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 2-3 teaspoon fine salt
- About 1/3-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
Set a large colander or sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water, line the colander or sieve with the cheesecloth. TIP I use a dish towel in place of cheesecloth if I don’t have one!
Pour the milk and cream into a large stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. As soon as it starts a boil, turn off the heat, move it aside, and stir in the lemon juice or vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 -3 minutes until it curdles. It will separate into curds, the solid parts, and whey, the milky parts. And you’ll start thinking about the nursery rhyme, “Little Miss Muffet” and quite possibly actually, probably definitely now that I said this, start reciting it!
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-(or dish towel) lined colander or sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. I like mine to be thick and creamy. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or put in a container with a lid and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. I ALWAYS make double the recipe so I can use it in whatever recipe I’m making but have enough to use later in the week. It’s delicious on fresh toast, mixed with tomatoes, in pasta, or mixed into pancakes or waffles!
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