Recipe: Tasting platter

By Grant Allen

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A tasting platter of quail eggs, apple with fresh mozzarella, poached tamarillo and fresh ricotta and honey. Photo / Jason Dorday
A tasting platter of quail eggs, apple with fresh mozzarella, poached tamarillo and fresh ricotta and honey. Photo / Jason Dorday

Italian Cheeses also produce fresh and aged ricotta. Fresh ricotta has many uses. I like to sweeten it with honey and serve it as an alternative to accompany poached fruit. At this time of the year, your fruit could be tamarillo.

Aged ricotta is flavour minefield. Its explosive sharpness is reminiscent of gorgonzola, a little goes a long way. Aldo equates it to using Marmite - spread thinly it is delicious, but too much is too much. He recommends using a teaspoon full as a final flourish in a creamy pasta sauce.

I blended a little aged ricotta with the fresh version, put it into some dates, then topped them with a sliver of dried apricot and chopped pistachio. These dates, with the sugared quince, make a rich finale to a dinner.

Quails eggs always make me think of England. I have had them poached and made into a mini egg's benedict. They are cute to use shelled and halved sitting on a canape, but I'm not much into fiddly food.

They have very pretty speckles and, when peeled, the inside shell is a wonderful blue. Why not just boil them and offer them with some sea salt and fresh cracked pepper? Let your guests peel their own.

P.S You may not be from Puglia but you can have a go at making your own fresh mozzarella, ricotta and other cheeses. Check out COOK@Cook the Books for classes.

- Herald on Sunday

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