I have been out of school now for almost eight years. Yet somehow, every time May rolls around I start to feel that hopeful zeal of summer approaching. Out in the real world my schedule doesn't change once summer hits, yet I still experience that light, exciting rush as the seasons change. It's the promise of days in the park lounging in the grass, cook-outs, weekend trips, outdoor concerts and movies. The smell of the leaves and that something warm in the air. Especially enticing are the foods that come along with it--the overflowing gardens and farms that will spill their way into the greenmarkets. How well we will eat!
Though tomatoes haven't yet made an appearance, I needed to eat a summer-like meal and it came together in this simply rustic tartine. The ingredients (the freshest you can find!) piled on top of crusty halves of bread and broiled until it all just barely comes together. A summer full of flavors in every bite.
Tomato and White Bean Tartine
1/4 c. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. small white beans, like cannelloni, cooked (or from a can, rinsed and drained)
2 TB chopped rosemary
2-6" halves of good quality, crusty bread (an Italian loaf, perhaps)
3/4 c. spinach, chopped
1 c. tomatoes, chopped (perhaps chopped cherry heirloom tomatoes)
extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat the broiler.
In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, white beans and rosemary. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Spread the white bean mixture onto the halves of bread. Top off each with half of the spinach and half of the tomatoes. Drizzle each with a bit of extra virgin olive oil (I would probably add a bit of salt and pepper here, too). Sprinkle the gruyere cheese on top. Now place the tartines onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese has melted and the toppings are just barely warmed through, just a minute or so. Allow to cool for another minute or so and then enjoy!
(maybe you serve these alongside some barely blanched asparagus topped with hollandaise and bottarga. I wouldn't fault you for this)