Sunday, September 22, 2013

Asparagus & Ricotta Toasts

It seems fitting to kick off my "Cook from the St. Luke's Cookbook" series with one submitted by Rachel Wagle, who led the cookbook charge.

Rachel wrote that this appetizer is a huge hit in her house and a favorite appetizer for dinner parties. Elegant and colorful, yet easily made, it's a lovely starter to a fun evening with friends.

One bite of the crisp toast, lemony asparagus, and milky ricotta, and you'll be hooked.

Asparagus & Ricotta Toasts (from Food and Wine Magazine)
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling and brushing

8 slices packaged thin white bread
3/4 pound pencil-thin asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh ricotta (5 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp 4 rounds out of each slice of bread and transfer to the baking sheet. Lightly brush the rounds with oil and toast for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden and slightly crisp.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the asparagus, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and let cool slightly.
In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest into the ricotta and season with salt and pepper. Spread the lemon ricotta on the toasts and top with the asparagus. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Serve right away.


SLS Cookbook Contributor Rachel Wagle and her family

Friends recommended the Wagles to SLS.  What struck them most during their initial visit was the positive learning environment.  "Kids and teachers seemed truly engaged and locked in to learning but in a very content, collaborative and productive way. It’s hard to explain really," Rachel says, "I just remember a vivid visual of happy, truly happy, faces all around."

Fast forward, and the Wagles have been an integral part of the SLS community for years.  Rachel notes, "Our boys have met incredible friends as well as teachers and staff, creating memorable moments and experiences they will take away with them for a lifetime. These are lifelong connections/foundations that have fostered their growth and will continue to do so. The school is truly special and has touched on a balance of rigorous academics and strong community."

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