I made these for my dearest friend the other day as we welcomed her home from the airport.
A light dinner of sorts with some lovely Chilean red wine to unwind after a long International flight.
These bruschettas couldn't have been more perfect.
The orange infused ricotta and complex flavors from the balsamic and vanilla infused strawberries with the refreshing burst from the occasional bite of basil was absolutely incredible.
So much so that I'm interrupting our girl time or should I say wine time to bring you this post.
So I really do hope you'll include this in your summer soirees.
And now if you'll excuse me, an excellent bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and some very valuable friend time and a delicious chilean sea bass tagine awaits.
For 12-16 bruschettas, serves 4-6
Gather the ingredients - 16 fresh & ripe strawberries, 1 medium sized tub ricotta cheese, zest of 1 orange, 2 tbs sugar, 1/2 cup basil leaves, one day old Italian bread
Dressing - 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
- In a bowl, measure out all the ingredients for the dressing. Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
- Prepare the strawberries - wash, cut away the tops and quarter each strawberry. Place in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the strawberries and refrigerate.
- In a bowl, combine ricotta with the zest of 1 orange and 2 tsp sugar. Combine and refrigerate till ready to use.
- Slice the bread into 12 qty 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 cool.
- Overlap the basil leaves one on top of the other. Roll into a pipe and then finely slice to get basil juliennes or slivers. Do this just before assembling the bruschettas to avoid discolored browning. Remove the strawberries from the refrigerator and toss with a spoon to thoroughly coat.
- To assemble, smear 1-1/2 tbs ricotta cheese on each toast. In a fan shape, top each with strawberries back to back (4-5 per toast). Arrange the basil slivers in between each strawberry.
What a head turner! The balsamic dressing adds a wonderful spicy tangy note to the strawberries but the real star is the vanilla extract which adds such a depth of flavor to the dressing, you'll be licking the spoon and eating the strawberries right from the bowl.
Simple sophistication. Crisp toast, creamy ricotta, flavor infused strawberries with the occasional burst of flavor from the basil. This is one eat that is sure to become a summer staple.