Ever since making B&G Oyster’s inspired arugula, blood orange and ricotta salad, I have been on a bit of a ricotta kick – incorporating it into salads, dolloping it on strawberries and, more recently, experimenting with it on bruschetta-like toasts. Quick and easy to put together, they are effectively a kind of open-faced sandwich. Ideal as appetizers, I find that in this heat they can also be ample for a light dinner.
The first time around, I did my ricotta toasts three ways: the first was plain, the second was drizzled with balsamic vinegar and, on the third, I rained down pieces of dried Turkish fig, finishing with a drizzle of Carlisle’s spring blossom honey. I tried them in that order. The plain one was good and the balsamic vinegar one was even better – I tried that combo because, when visiting an acetaia near Bologna, we sampled balsamic vinegar drizzled on ricotta from the Parmigiano Reggiano dairy we had visited that morning – spectacular!
In this case, however, I have to say that it was the third combo that was my top choice. The produce team have been getting in dried figs that are as close to perfect as you can get: moist, tender and flavorful. They’re so good that I have been taking them home for straight up snacking. And, on toasts, combined with Carlisle’s buttery honey and the milkiness of ricotta, I was only bummed that I hadn’t made more!
Serves: 2-3 (as appetizers)
6 slices of baguette (or a non-sourdough bread)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta
4-6 dried Turkish figs
Carlisle’s spring blossom honey (for drizzling)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out your baguette slices. Drizzle with olive oil, flip over, and drizzle on the second side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5 minutes or until the toasts start to crisp up (this helps avoid sogginess when you put the cheese on top).
Remove from the oven and spread a layer of ricotta on each toast. Return to the oven and bake for roughly 10 minutes. Be vigilant – ideally the top of the ricotta browns a little but whether this happens and how long it takes will depend on the moisture content of your cheese. I sometimes finish mine off for a minute or two under the broiler to get that hint of gold on the ricotta peaks.
While your toasts are baking, chop your figs into small pieces and have your honey at the ready. When the toasts come out, sprinkle over the fig pieces and drizzle on a small amount of honey. Consume as soon as possible to maximize the contrast of the crunchy toasts and the soft, creamy cheese. Enjoy!
Mary is a baker and cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.