These creamy bites taste of spring and take as little time to put together as they will to disappear. Omit the toasts, and the ragu makes for a quick weeknight dinner when tossed with pasta.
What to buy: We used slightly sour pain au levain to bring out the tanginess of the goat cheese, but a sour baguette will do in a pinch.
Game plan: You can bake the toasts and make the ragu up to 1 day in advance so that you just need to spread the cheese and ragu on the toasts when you’re ready to serve. To reheat the ragu, cover and warm it in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Brush bread slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Spread about 1 teaspoon goat cheese on each toast; set aside.
2Heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add mushrooms, asparagus, and shallot and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus and shallot are tender and mixture starts to let off liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 4 minutes.
3Stir in tarragon and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Spoon about 1 tablespoon ragu over each goat cheese toast and serve.
Beverage pairing:Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre, France. Goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc. Nothing more needs to be said, except that this Sauvignon Blanc from the town of Sancerre is a smashing example of the form. It has bright apple and lemon zippiness to it, but also a lovely, complex unfolding in the mouth that allows the goat cheese to make its impression before being swept away by a rush of juicy freshness.