If you're thinking to yourself, This Chris guy has totally lost it... this sounds like a really weird combination of ingredients, you may be half right. I may be losing it. But this unusual pairing actually works, and it totally was not my idea. I can't even take a glimmer of credit.
Ever since dining (twice) at San Francisco's Flour + Water, I can't stop thinking about Chef Thomas McNaughton's insanely delicious stone fruit salad. It was phenomenal. Utterly mind-blowing. And like you, I was skeptical at first.
This is such a quick and simple salad to throw together at the last minute for an easy, unique appetizer or as light lunch.
And listen, and I can't really stress this enough, the secret to success for this salad is the quality of ingredients. The fruit has to be ripe. Like, the kind when you bite into them juice simultaneously squirts into your eyes, temporarily blinding you, and runs down your chin, neck, and onto your clothing. That kind of ripe.
The ricotta is super important as well. I like to go to Whole Foods to splurge on a freshly-made ricotta you can find within their cheese department. The sad ones in vacuum-sealed containers at the supermarket just don't do the trick. Try a cheese shop, or if you're real adventurous, do a quick google search for a recipe to make your own.
Technically, the salad at Flour + Water had an avocado puree. And it was darn lovely. But to simplify and speed up the process a bit, roughly chopping a ripe avocado into cubes works just fine.
And make sure your pine nuts are toasted, which makes them extra fragrant and flavorful. Just be careful not to burn them, because they tend to do so frequently. I have burned plenty of pine nuts in my day. And those suckers are not cheap.
And lastly, the salsa verde recipe is straight from Flour + Water's Chef Thomas McNaughton himself. I found the tarragon and meyer lemon at Whole Foods, but most supermarkets around me don't carry those. Super annoying, right? You can easily just substitute a regular lemon if need be, and omit the tarragon and experiment with some different herbs instead.