Farmhouse Ricotta with Persian Lime Oil

What You'll Need

  • citrus zester, microplane or vegetable peeler
  • sharp knife
  • wide-mouth jar
  • muddler
  • large heavy bottomed pot
  • stainless steel spoon
  • cheesecloth
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • colander
  • large bowl
  • air-tight container for storage
For the Ricotta
  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (not Meyer lemon, which is not acidic enough)
  • Lime Oil (see below), for drizzling
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
For the Lime Oil
  • 3 limes (or 1 orange, or 2 largeish lemons)
  • 1 cup fruity olive oil
This is such a beautiful recipe. It’s really two recipes in one, and sure, you could make one without the other. But the pillowy farmhouse ricotta and the green, vibrant lime oil is such a perfect pairing, that I highly recommend serving them together, at least once. You can, of course, find new uses and other ways to serve both of these gems. The lime oil can also be made with lemon, or tangerine, and can be used in salad dressings, drizzled over bread or grilled foods, or added to dips and sauces for a secret undercurrent of citrus in any recipe. The ricotta is divine, light and pillowy, and most unlike anything found in a plastic tub. Simple ingredients elevated to become more than the sum of their parts. If you can, give the lime oil a day or two to infuse before making the ricotta. While the lime flavor does start to infuse into the oil almost immediately, the flavor really kicks in after 24 hours. Just luscious. Adapted from Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes, by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson.

persion lime oil

For the Lime Oil
Use a sharp citrus zester or a vegetable peeler to remove thin strips of peel from the citrus. peel or zest limeYou want to leave behind as much of the white pith as possible, capturing only the colorful zest.

Put the strips of peel into a small wide mouth jar, and pour just a little of the oil over the top. cover with oil and muddleMuddle with the back of a wooden spoon to release the fragrant citrus oils.
Pour in the remaining oil to cover and screw on the lid.cover with oil
Store the oil in a cool place for a few days before using. It will keep for up to 6 months.cover and keep

For the Ricotta
In a large pot, combine the milk and cream. Adjust the burner to medium heat, and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot, and watch it carefully as it climbs to 190 °F, stirring occasionally. Do not let the dairy boil.heat milk on stove
Remove from the heat, and add the lemon juice, stirring gently as you do so for half a minute. add lemon juice
Cover the pot with a clean dish towel and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. The milk will slowly curdle over this time, separating into milky clouds of white curd and watery, opaque whey.curds forming
Line a colander or large sieve with cheesecloth, and set it over a large bowl. Gently pour the ricotta into the cheesecloth, allowing the whey to drain out. Let the ricotta drain for at least 30 minutes. ladle curd into cheeseclothFor a denser cheese, allow it to drain for a longer period of time; 2 hours, or even overnight. The longer it drains, the thicker and drier the cheese becomes. The yield lessens as the whey drains away. For serving with lime oil, we liked the ricotta soft and pillowy, drained for just the basic 30 minutes.

Spoon the ricotta into a serving bowl. Drizzle generously with lime oil, and perhaps a few strands of thinly sliced lime zest plucked from the green oil. drizzle ricotta with oilSeason with salt and pepper.
season with salt and pepper
Serve with crusty bread, or on its own as a decadent side with a peppery salad.
To store any excess ricotta (ha!) transfer to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate for up to 6 days. Save the whey and use it in bread, stews, or baking recipes; whey can be stored separately in the refrigerator for 4 days, or frozen for later use.serve with crusty bread

Over to You

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