My best friend was having brunch at her place in Brooklyn Saturday morning and I agreed to bring something healthy to balance out the meat and carbs (Ashley’s succulent baked chicken wings, Kristen’s “crack” mashed potatoes, and Cresha’s flaky, yet moist biscuits, nicely browned sausage links, and bad ass mimosas) we were about to inhale before hitting the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
I was at my favorite grocery destination in the Lower East Side (The Essex Street Market) the night before and discovered ricotta salata in the dairy case. In addition to this mysterious block of cheese, I also bought endive and bibb lettuce. I already had a bag of baby spinach in the fridge at home so I thought how refreshing it would be to create my own “mixed greens”. I also had an heirloom tomato and a bottle of ready-made dressing at home in order to create the perfect salad.
The Food Network peaked my interest after watching a couple of shows that incorporated ricotta salata, but I hesitated at first since there was a presumption of having a sharp cheese flavor. It turned out to be pleasantly mild however, with a feta-like texture.
Candied walnuts or pecans are a great addition to the recipe below. Any mild flavored ingredient such as beets would work great with a salad that contains ricotta salata. Anything pungent such as sliced red onions or green olives may overpower the subtleties of the dish.
1 head bibb lettuce
1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata
1 medium ripe vine or heirloom tomato (4 wedges)
Handful baby spinach
1/2 head endive (sliced)
Freshly ground black pepper
Favorite dressing – mine happens to be Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar
Toss various salad greens with dressing and add tomato wedges and ricotta salata. Grind fresh black pepper to taste.