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story.lead_photo.caption Spring Toasts With Labneh

Visiting the yogurt case is like a taking trip around the world these days: Greek, French, Australian and Icelandic styles, and more. If you are lucky, next to those you will find labneh, the Middle Eastern yogurt so thick and spreadable it is referred to as a cheese. It has a rich texture and a refreshingly tangy flavor -- something like a light sour cream -- and I am officially enamored of it. I eat it by the spoonful on its own or with fruit, use it as a base for dips and dollop it into soups and sauces.

Because labneh is so thick, it is especially well suited for smearing on bread, as it is in these toasts. I prefer the richness of the full-fat variety, but the low-fat version works, too.

For these toasts, I like to use a dense, whole-grain bread studded with grains and seeds. The labneh is spread luxuriously on top, followed by a shower of spring produce -- radish slices, sprouts and fresh mint leaves -- and finally, a sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds, coarse salt and black pepper. The toasts make a lovely seasonal nibble for company or for yourself as a breakfast, lunch or midday snack. And they are a wonderful reason, if you need one, to pick up a container of labneh.

If you can't find labneh at your market, it's easy to make:

Combine 4 cups whole-milk or low-fat plain yogurt and a generous pinch of salt and mix well. Line a fine-mesh sieve with several layers of cheesecloth. Strain yogurt in the prepared sieve for 36 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Labneh will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for about a week. Makes 2 to 3 cups.

Spring Toasts With Labneh

8 slices crusty, textured whole-grain bread, such as from a "health" loaf

3/4 cup labneh

4 medium radishes, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons broccoli sprouts or other type of sprouts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted (see note)

Coarse sea salt and ground black pepper

Toast the bread.

Spread about 11/2 tablespoons of labneh over each slice, then top with radishes, sprinkle with the oil, and top with the sprouts, mint and sunflower seeds. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then serve right away.

Makes 4 servings main-course or 8 snack servings.

NOTE: Toast the sunflower seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and slightly darkened, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool before using.

Food on 05/16/2018

Print Headline: Spreadable yogurt, toast, Mideast treat

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