Tonight's dinner is a manifestation of a common daydream brought on by May's warming weather. Think breezy late afternoon brunch on a stone terrace. (It gets better if, in the daydream, you’re looking at a babbling brook from under the brim of a pale-yellow hat.) Now translate that into a fast, simple weeknight supper.
We dreamt up this beautiful torte -- bright from lemon zest, springy from mint and peas -- with this light, colorful salad alongside. You supply the mimosas. And the yellow hat.
The Grocery List (for 4, with leftover torte for lunch the next day)
1 pint of strawberries
3 cups market mesclun
1 celery rib
1 fennel bulb
2 cups shelled peas (or frozen, thawed)
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup young Pecorino cheese
We’re assuming you have quite a few ingredients already on hand, but if not, they’re all pantry staples. If you don’t have the following, go ahead and stock up -- we’re guessing you’ll need them for tomorrow, or the next night: balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, “loads” of black pepper, butter, shallot, salt, nutmeg, eggs (you'll need 4), and a lemon.
The salad can be thrown together last minute, right before you're ready for it, so the main task is the torte, which is basically a crustless quiche.
1. Before you do anything else, get your oven working at 375 F. You can also prep a quick salad dressing with your olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
2. Time to focus on your torte: start in on steps 2 and 3 of the recipe; this is the most work you'll do all night. From here, the oven does the rest.
3. Compose your salad. (Read: toss ingredients into a bowl. Bonus points if your bowl is a pretty, spring-sppropriate color.) As the torte cools slightly, dress your salad, and you're done. Now, go ahead, daydream.