Toast the return of warmer weather with these wonderful Herb Ricotta & Balsamic Tomato Crostinis meant to be savored in the company of good friends and family.
But then again, who's to stop you from opening a nice bottle of wine, curled up on the couch with a plate of these watching reruns of Downton Abbey?
Think toasted thin sliced bread, topped with creamy, fresh herb embellished ricotta and goat cheese made only better with balsamic steeped tomatoes.
So you see, some indulgences don't require an occasion or even a crowd, their very existence is reason enough.
Gather the ingredients - 1-1/4 cup ricotta cheese, 2 oz goat cheese, 24 ripe cherry tomatoes or 12 campari tomatoes, 1 tbs heavy cream, 12 garlic cloves to rub on toasted bread, day old baguette or Italian bread, 6 sprigs chives for garnish
Herb Pesto- 1/4 cup packed basil leaves, 1/4 cup packed dill leaves, 5 sprigs chives, 1 peeled garlic clove, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black ground pepper, 1 tbs water & 1 tbs olive oil. Also needed is a food processor or blender capable of grinding to a fine paste (such as the magic bullet)
Balsamic dressing for tomatoes - 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper & 2 tbs dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F
- For the herb pesto - In the bowl of the blender/food processor add the ingredients for the herb pesto and pulverize to a fine paste.
- For the herb ricotta topping - In a mixing bowl, roughly mash the goat cheese with a fork. Add the ricotta cheese and cream. Stir to combine. Add the herb pesto and stir to thoroughly combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate till further use.
- Prepare the balsamic dressing - In a bowl, measure out all the ingredients for the balsamic dressing. Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
- Prepare the balsamic tomatoes- wash, cut away the tops and if using cherry tomatoes then halve; if using campari tomatoes then quarter each. Place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl and pour the balsamic dressing over the tomatoes. Using kitchen shears, snip the chive sprigs. Stir to combine and refrigerate till further use.
- Slice the bread into 12 qty 1/4" (no more than 1/2") thick slices. Place in the hot oven and toast the bread for 10 minutes on one side, flip over and toast for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and while still hot rub 1 garlic clove all over each toast.
- To assemble, smear 1-1/2 tbs herb ricotta on each toast. Top each toast with 2 campari or 4 cherry tomatoes. Decorate with chive sprigs.
One bite and you're hooked. This is the very best of the season all in one bite. The creamy ricotta bursting with fresh herbs and topped with the tangy sun ripened tomatoes will bring you to your knees.
I don't doubt that this may end up being your favorite TV dinner! Come on - how can you resist!