The more I entertain, the more I come to realize that you don't have to put out a ridiculously complicated menu to make a big impression on your guests. Excepting Holiday dinners, I think simple, bold flavors are the way to go, especially when paired with a round of drinks.
I have always loved serving multiple hors d'oeuvres for my casual get togethers. Everyone gets a little bit of everything, and by serving heavier appetizers, it can feel like a meal. Offer some good wine, and you'll be the star host or hostess!
These Tomato & Ricotta Bruschetta hit that sweet spot. Toasted crusty bread is given a light drizzle of olive oil, and then spread with creamy ricotta. Topped with chopped ripe tomato, garlic, and basil, this dish is great as a starter - or even a light meal if you have a few of them. Oh, and if you have guests who might not prefer dairy, don't fret - even without the ricotta, these little toasts are delicious!
Tomato & Ricotta Bruschetta
makes 12 individual servings
1 crusty loaf of bread
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, I like to use a variety of tomatoes
1/4 of a large purple onion
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
aged balsamic for garnish
Slice (12) 1/2 inch rounds of bread on a large cutting board and arrange on a nonstick baking tray.
Next, peel a clove of garlic and slice off one end. Take a pinch of salt and place on the cutting board. Dip and lightly press the cut side of the garlic into the salt. Next, rub the garlic clove along the outside of each bread round, occasionally going back and dipping into the salt. The salt helps act as an abrasive while rubbing around the bread.
After all the bread has been lightly coated with garlic, quickly drizzle a bit of olive oil on all of the slices. Place the whole tray into the oven and broil on medium high for 2 minutes and then flip over, continue to broil the other sides for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Once toasted, allow to cool.
Wash and dry your tomatoes. Dice all of the tomatoes into roughly equally sized pieces and add to a medium sized bowl. Mince the remaining garlic clove (you can add more garlic depending on your preference) and dice the 1/4 of the purple onion. Combine in the bowl with the diced tomatoes,1 tablespoon chopped basil, 1 heavy pinch of kosher salt, and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir gently to combine. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as you like.
To assemble the bruschetta, use a large spoon to quickly swipe a nice layer of ricotta (about 3 teaspoons) on each toasted slice of bread, and then spoon a generous helping of the tomato mixture (about 2 tablespoons). Drizzle with a syrupy aged balsamic vinegar before serving.