Appetizer::Welcoming spring with ricotta and asparagus

Vernal Equinox signals the beginning of spring. A time when flowers start blooming and trees are blossoming. A time in the kitchen when we leave behind the hearty soups and stews of winter and welcome the seasonal fruits and vegetables that spring has to offer.

As I was waiting for the spaghetti to cook for dinner this evening, I wanted to make a quick bite of ingredients that symbolized spring. I grabbed a few of the spears of asparagus I'd roasted - the ones that were sitting on the stove waiting to be united with the pasta - and chopped off the top tree-like portions . I mixed ricotta with lemon zest and toasted almond slices while waiting for the beep of the toaster. A clove of garlic was peeled and halved to be rubbed onto the freshly toasted bread.

A rustic French baguette would have been perfect for this simple appetizer. Since we had none on hand, the French seeded Boule was the next best option - poppy seeds providing a crunch that nicely complimented the toasted almond slices.

Asparagus spears are so incredibly tasty that I can hardly believe I've avoided them for most of my life. They're nature's candy - of the savory kind. I roasted the spears at 425F with olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper for a total of 9 minutes since the spears were pencil thin.

The ingredients are few and the instructions simple: toast bread, rub garlic on one side, spread the ricotta mixture, place toasted almonds and roasted asparagus spears on top.

Simple, tasty, and quick enough to make while waiting for the first spring dinner to come together.