Honey Ricotta, Tomato, and Balsamic Crostini

Feb 3rd

During a mani-pedi sesh with one of my best friends, her mom, and her sister, they filled me in on where we’d be heading for dinner that night. It was her 30th bday and we had to bully her into a dinner out; she is an attention-phob. Anyways – during their explanation they mentioned a bruschetta that sounded mind-blowing. After ordering (and devouring) it that night, I knew I had to have it again and attempting to make it would be my surest bet.

First off, did you know this app should be pronounced “brus-ketta”? That’s how they say it in Italy. I worry when I attempt it here I will get looked at funny, so I usually hold back. So this app had long slices of garlicky buttered grilled bread, served with a bowl of honey ricotta cheese and a second bowl of balsamic grilled tomatoes. You were supposed to assemble it yourself, and in the summer I plan to do this for dinner. Since it’s literally 8 degrees outside the grill wasn’t an option, plus I didn’t want people to have to hover around the platter; crostini was the answer. Perfectly portioned and put together ahead of time, this became an easy and impressive appetizer – it even traveled well!

You can make the toast up to 3 days ahead, the cheese and tomatoes up to two. Assembly should be done within several hours of serving. Long story short this app was a nice change up and every last bite disappeared; even my anti-tomato friend liked it enough to scrape off her tomatoes and eat several pieces of the bread/cheese/balsamic. The ricotta is sweet, as is the balsamic syrup, while the garlicky toast and salty tomatoes balance it all out beautifully. I get my balsamic syrup from Trader Joes (and drizzle it on EVERYTHING), but if you don’t have a TJ’s near you try this Balsamic Sryup from Giada. 

Honey Ricotta, Tomato, and Balsamic Crostini

Serves 8

Tomatoes

2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

4-5 smashed garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Crostini

1 long, thin baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

Olive oil

1 garlic clove, halved

Ricotta

1 1/2 c. Ricotta cheese

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

3 tbsp. honey

1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, to taste

Balsamic syrup for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place tomatoes on sheet. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until blistered and burst.

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2. Reduce oven temp to 400. Place bread rounds on baking sheet. Brush or spray olive oil to lightly coat one side. Bake for 12 minutes or until just beginning to brown around edges.

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3. Remove bread from oven and rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic. Let cool completely – can be stored in an airtight container up to three days.

4. Meanwhile, make ricotta mixture by beating ricotta cheese, salt, honey and thyme with electric mixer until lightened, about three minutes on medium speed.

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5. To assemble, spread about 1 tbsp. amount of ricotta mixture onto each crostini. Top with 1-2 tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic syrup.

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