cheesecloth is fun

bakedricotta

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I have fancy new gadgets that I received for Christmas presents yet all I want to do is play with cheesecloth. I feel a bit like a kid with a big cardboard box.

I think the recipe was calling for a “round” ricotta meaning some sort of drained and pressed ricotta which I did not find. So I drained and pressed my own. I’m getting rather proficient with the cheese thing if I do say so myself…and I do. At first I didn’t brush on any olive oil and it wasn’t getting browned. Once I added the olive oil it did.

I had preserved lemons, fresh lemon juice, garlic, parsley, garlic and cilantro for the relish but I didn’t find plain semi-dried tomatoes so these were some marinated ones I I found in the grocery store olive bar… it was all the more super flavorful, but delicious. Good crusty bread is obviously required for success, so I bought the bread. This is really more of an appetizer, but if you eat enough of it with a salad, as I did,  it can be dinner. I can’t really find a comparable recipe online for you so here it is:

Cheese

ricotta (as I mentioned I bought some fresh hand dipped)
some olive oil

I wrapped the ricotta tightly in a doubled section of cheese cloth, put it in a strainer over a bowl with a saucer and a big heavy can in the fridge for most of the day. Then heated the oven up, not sure what temp, put the drained cheese in a casserole and put it in the oven, at some point I brushed on the olive oil. The recipe says to heat the oven to 500F, brush with olive oil right away and bake for 20-30 minutes. You should probably use those directions rather than mine.

Relish

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, pith and flesh removed an cut into strips (this always seems like such a waste but you will just want the rind)
5 oz semi-dried tomatoes (this seems like a European/Australian thing so you may have to be a little flexible and creative if you live in the US or order them online)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

I smashed my garlic in a mortar and pestle and then put the rest together in a bowl.

Assembly

bread

I toasted the bread, cut out some of the baked ricotta and put on top, spooned on some of the relish.

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