Make the most of those end-of-winter persimmons with this creamy baked ricotta.
Spike Gjerde, the James Beard Award–winning chef at restaurants like A Rake’s Progress in Washington, D.C., and Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, approaches local sourcing with religious fervor. He forgoes olive oil and lemons, using locally grown and pressed oils and vinegars in their place. His team dries mint, lavender, peaches, and cherries—and even makes garlic powder. He refuses to buy from distributors, even when they buy from local growers, because he wants every penny to go the farm. “A lot of people say, ‘Wow, this is harder than I thought.’ Then they just call [giant distributor] Sysco. But it’s why we’re doing it,” Gjerde says. “Our job is to get more value back to growers.”This recipe, from A Rake’s Progress, is inspired by Gjerde’s relationship with local makers and purveyors. Hoshigaki are Japanese persimmons that have been dried and massaged to evenly distribute their sugars. Gjerde shaves them and scatters them over baked ricotta to make an indulgent but healthy snack.
Active: 15 mins Total: 1 hr Yield: 6
1 1/2 cups sheep’s milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon medium-grind sea salt (such as J.Q. Dickinson)
2 tablespoons Herb Oil
1/4 ounce hoshigaki (Japanese dried persimmons), shaved on a mandoline (about 2 tablespoons)
Grilled bread, for serving
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Transfer ricotta mixture to a small (3-cup) crock or gratin dish. Bake in preheated oven until ricotta mixture is puffed and golden brown in spots, 45 to 50 minutes. Drizzle herb oil over baked ricotta, and top with shaved hoshigaki. Serve hot with grilled bread.
Creamy, full-bodied Rhône-style white.