One of my favorite spring dishes a crostini that makes early season produce sing
by Chef Peter Botros
One of my favorite (and sadly undersung) kitchen gadgets is a nitrogen oxide (N2O) dispenser. Although used primarily for whipping cream, it can actually help a novice or seasoned chef elevate a variety of dishes from light and fly Espumas to warm and cold sauces, whipped soups to desserts. The dispenser itself such as the model seen above from iSi ($97, zesco.com) focuses the colorless, odorless gas to aerate whatever liquid is in a container. iSi gear, including N2O cartridges, comes with a handy user manual and recipes so you can get process comfortable before creating your own delicacies.
Shortly after winter, I tweak offerings to reflect the wonderful new produce of the season— typically hardy crops that either grow quickly, tolerate bad weather happily, or both. Here’s one of my favorites one that’s easy to make, ultra fresh, and full of flavor.
SPRING PEA CROSTINI, With a Toasted Baguette, Ricotta Pea Mousse, Brussels Sprout Leaves, Shaved Pecorino, and Lemon Zest
1 French Baguette
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups fresh peas (If you can’t get fresh, frozen is fi ne)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 egg whites
Opal basil (but any fresh basil will do)
Small chunk of Pecorino Romano
Extra virgin olive oil
Cut baguette on the bias into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Lay out on baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 275°F for 12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
In a small sauce pan, blanch peas in salted water at a rolling boil for two minutes. Shock peas in ice water and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cake mixer until semi stiff.
In a blender, add heavy cream, ricotta, peas (strained), one teaspoon white pepper, and two teaspoons of kosher salt blend until fully incorporated.
Add ricotta pea mixture into mixing bowl with egg whites and zest of three lemons. Gently fold until fully incorporated. Fill mixture into piping bag.
Pipe mixture onto toasted baguette, top with raw Brussels sprout leaves and basil. Drizzle Evoo, shave Pecorino Romano on top, and finish with zest of remaining lemons.
THE PERFECT PAIR
Pair my crostini with a Sancerre (or a California Sauvignon Blanc) to help accentuate the brightness of the lemons. One of the fi nest examples we serve at The Stone House at Clove Lakes is Henri Bourgeois “La Porte du Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, from the Loire Valley. Located just outside Chavignol, the home village of Henri Bourgeois, this family owned domaine started in 1935 with just two hectares, and has grown ever since in terms of both size and reputation. Wonderfully vibrant and balanced, it’s a lovely example of the softer, rounder Sancerre style.
The Stone House at Clove Lakes/Chef’s Loft, 1150 Clove Road, thestonehousesi.com; Violette’s Cellar, 2271 Hylan Boulevard, violettescellar.com; Sofia’s Taqueria, 977 Bay Street, sofiastaquerianyc.com; Corner House BBQ, 100 Lincoln Avenue, cornerhousebbq.com