Photo: James Brosher
I find myself craving the simplest of meals during the summer. Many of them require three main components: bread, cheese and produce. The combination of ingredients is inspired by whatever I can find at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. This week I scored some fairy tale eggplant, watermelon and cantaloupe. But there are a few staples I find myself buying week after week: cherry tomatoes, peaches and basil. I go straight to my favorite vendors as soon as I arrive in the morning to make sure I get what I need. Then I immediately head home and throw together the most fresh, delicious lunch.
This idea for toast came together when I found myself staring down two large containers of ricotta cheese, which I had leftover from making this amazing ricotta ice cream for a cookbook club meeting. I was craving something savory and sweet, so I decided I would make both. Why choose when you don’t have to?
A few slices of this toast can be a meal in itself, but it’s also wonderful served alongside a big salad or as an appetizer while you wait for the main course to finish up on the grill. To kick it up a notch, top each toast with a balsamic reduction.
- 1/2 french or whole-grain baguette
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup basil, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1 peach, cut into 12 slices
- Cut baguette into 12 thin slices, slicing at a slight diagonal. Place bread slices on a medium-sized cookie sheet. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl and brush over the tops of each bread slice. Place cookie sheet on the top rack of your oven and set it to broil. Watch the bread closely to make sure it doesn’t burn. Broil for 2 to 4 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove bread from oven and set aside.
- While bread cools, gently stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside to let the flavors marry.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together ricotta and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread a generous amount of ricotta on top of each piece of bread. Top half of the toasts with the tomato mixture. With the remaining pieces of toast, place two slices of peach on top and sprinkle with the remaining fresh basil.