This recipe from Hawke's Bay's James Beck, owner of Bistronomy, is a lovely zingy plated salad that works great as an entrée by itself or as an accompaniment to fish. Making ricotta is perhaps the simplest of cheeses to make at home. It is very rewarding, but it’s also quite okay to substitute for good quality store-bought ricotta. The pickled veg is best prepared the day before and also will keep for at least a week refrigerated.
Pickle and veg
|150 ml||White wine vinegar|
|150 ml||Caster sugar|
|1 pinch||Fennel seeds, toasted|
|1 pinch||Coriander seeds, toasted|
|1 pinch||Cumin seeds, toasted|
|4||Star anise, toasted|
|2||Courgettes, cut into ribbons, seeds reserved|
|1||Carrot, cut into ribbons|
|½ ||Cucumbers, cut into ribbons, seeds reserved|
|¼ large||Cauliflower, cut into florets, trimmings reserved|
|500 ml||Sheep's milk, or goat's or cow's milk|
|1 small bunch||Sage leaf|
|1||Lemon, juice of|
|12||Sage leaves, deep fried|
|20||Sage flowers, (available only in early summer when the sage is blooming)|
|12||Almonds, toasted and chopped|
|20||Capers, deep fried until crispy|
|1 drizzle||Macadamia nut oil, or any other nut oil|
For the pickle and the veg
- Combine the first 11 ingredients and bring to the boil, take off the heat and allow the ingredients to infuse.
- Once cooled strain the liquid and pour over the prepared vegetables. Refrigerate until required.
For the ricotta
- Infuse the milk with the sage at a temperature of around 80C (just as the milk starts to steam). Pull the milk off and allow to infuse for about half an hour.
- Strain the sage, add the lemon juice and reheat the milk to about 80C. Allow the milk to stand and you will notice the curds start to separate.
- Once the milk has cooled, strain through muslin. Store the resultant ricotta in the fridge until required. The whey makes a refreshing protein rich cold drink.
For the puree
- Throw all of the vegetable trimmings plus the extra cauliflower into a pot with boiling salted water and cook until soft.
- Strain the liquid off and puree the rest with a large knob of butter to a smooth consistency. Season to taste and reserve in the fridge.
- Spoon a dollop of the puree onto each plate and spread in a rough circular shape. Strain the pickled veg and make roll-ups of each variety and place randomly on the puree. The cauliflower florets look like little branches upside down.
- Spoon small knobs of the ricotta on each plate. Divide the other garnishes randomly over the vegetables, drizzle with the nut oil and serve.