Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thank You Stephanie!

My taste buds were singing with happiness when I ate this open faced sandwich and I have my sister Stephanie to thank (a big thanks)!  Stephanie is living in Oregon with her little family and frequents the farmers markets (she tells me all about them and I feel slightly envious.  I might just have to make a trip to Oregon).  One of the food vendors was selling a sandwich kind of similar to this, but on a bagel.  Stephanie and I have both tried our own versions at home (I took the easy way out and bought the bread and Stephanie made homemade bagels that looked amazing) and oh my, wow-eee, I think I might dream about this sandwich! 

Open Faced Ricotta, Roasted Asparagus and Chimichurri Sandwich

A loaf of artisan bread, sliced (I used mini baguettes sliced in half)

Ricotta Cheese

4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use 2 teaspoons Maldon salt)

Add ingredients to a 4-quart pot.  Attach a thermometer to the side of the pot (making sure that it doesn't touch the bottom of the pan).  Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching.  (Do not stir once the temperature reaches 170, it will become grainy.)  

Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.

Once curds begin to separate from the whey (liquid temperature will be between 175 and 200 degrees), remove from heat.  Gently spoon or ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.  You may need to gently gather the cheesecloth at the top to help the curds drain.  

Let curds sit in cheesecloth to drain liquid 15 to 30 minutes.  Keep in mind the ricotta will thicken in the fridge, so don't drain it too much, or it will end up dry. 

Chimichurri Sauce

2 Tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/3 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup loosely packed cilantro
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine hot water, salt, and oregano in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften oregano.  Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped, about ten-1 second pulses.  Add water mixture and vinegar and pulse briefly to combine.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and mixture is emulsified.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour (if preparing sauce in advance, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using).

This sauce is mouthwatering deliciousness!  Just the smell alone sends me into a food trance.

Recipe adapted just a tiny bit from America's Test Kitchen

Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus.  Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat asparagus completely.  Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast the asparagus until tender, but still crisp, about 8-10 minutes.

Assemble sandwich:  Preheat broiler and place sliced bread on pan.  Place pan in oven until bread is crisp around the edges.  Remove from oven and top with ricotta cheese and roasted asparagus.  Drizzle or spoon chimichurri sauce on top of asparagus.  Eat and prepare to fall in love with a sandwich!

*I can't wait to try this same combo on a pizza.  Sooo good!!!

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