Tomatoes and Ricotta with Savory Granola

Tomatoes and Ricotta with Savory GranolaA Gracious Plenty
One of the greatest things about living in California is that we have access to the best produce in the world. Literally. California is one of the largest if not the largest producer of fruits and vegetables for the planet and most of that is grown about an hour’s drive (depending on traffic) away. So it should come as no surprise that while other regions of the country are currently struggling to put produce on their shelves because of logistical issues, here in the golden state, we’re doing okay.

Right now our produce department looks great. The bins are full of fresh leafy greens and, due to a bit of luck that could only happen because of a pandemic, we just got some outrageously good oranges in that would normally be bound for Japan. If I had to choose the item that has been brightening my day for the past few weeks though, it would be the bright colors of the organic heirloom tomatoes. They call to me like a siren song every time I go down that aisle and I am unable to resist taking at least a couple home. But even those beauties don’t hold a candle to the ones you grow in your own garden which is why, over the weekend, we planted a garden.

It’s been a number of years since we’ve planted a veggie garden for a few reasons. The biggest roadblock was time. The number of hours we spent running around going from this place to that—sometimes staying overnight—made tending a garden impossible. And, then there are the critters. Chickens, you may be surprised to know, can be as destructive to plants as locusts and don’t get me started on the squirrels…

Now that we’re doing a lot less running around we decided to give a garden a go. Of course, something ate my pepper plant the first night but the tomatoes are still there. We chicken-proofed our planter bed and it seems to be working for now.

The plants are already thriving so I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll have a good harvest. In the meantime, I remain thankful for all that we have access to an look forward to the coming weeks and the start of the stone fruit season…

Tomatoes and Ricotta with Savory Granola
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Yields 4 servings

The granola adds a crunchy topping to this delicious salad—and there is plenty left over to sprinkle on other salads and dishes. The lemony ricotta negates the need for salad dressing. Use the best heirloom tomatoes you can find for maximum flavor.

For the savory granola
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup salted roasted sunflower seeds

For the ricotta
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the tomatoes
Two 12-ounce heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges

Make the granola
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the agave, water, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix until the oats are thoroughly coated.

Spread the oats on the prepared baking sheet and bake it, stirring twice, until the granola is light golden (about 25 minutes). Stir in the pistachios and sunflower seeds and bake until golden brown and dry (about 10 minutes longer).

Allow the granola cool completey to room tempertare on the baking sheet, tossing occasionally.

Make the ricotta
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Assemble the dish
Arrange the tomato wedges in shallow bowls and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the ricotta around the tomatoes. Sprinkle with some of the granola, and save the remaining 
granola for another use.

Serve immediately.

Do ahead
The granola can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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