Summer vegetable salad with lemony ricotta

Think of this salad as the little green dress of summer: Add all kinds of vegetables:  lightly blanched fiddleheads and asparagus, yellow pattypan squash, baby zucchini, fennel, and slender green beans. When it comes to greens, take advantage of what comes into season, including herbs. A few sprigs of soft tarragon or some mint leaves will add flair. The star of this show, though, is ricotta. It’s mixed with lemon rind and placed on the greens like a puff of whipped cream on dessert.


2     tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
6     tablespoons olive oil
1. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper.
2. Gradually whisk in the oil until the dressing emulsifies. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4     cup whole-milk ricotta
Finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon

1     fennel bulb, tops trimmed and cut into 4 wedges
1     pound slender green beans, trimmed
2     endives
1     head frisee lettuce or 1 head red-leaf lettuce, cored and torn up

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have on hand a large bowl of ice water.
2. In a bowl, mix the ricotta with the lemon rind and a pinch of salt.
3. Add the fennel to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add the green beans and cook an additional 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Use tongs to transfer the vegetables to the ice water. Spread the vegetables on paper towels until you are ready to toss the salad.
4. In a large bowl, toss the greens and vegetables. Add dressing, a little at a time, until the salad is lightly dressed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Arrange the salad on 4 plates. Garnish with ricotta and sprinkle with a little more dressing.


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