Monday, July 27, 2009

A Platter of Crostini

My mom introduced me to this great book - A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis (Chez Panisse). It is a cook book, split into four sections, one for each season, structured into various themed menus. Genius! I love it. Not that I don't love my books divided by "poultry" and "desserts." I can construct my own menu, and I can cook with the seasons, but if someone can do it for me, and do it well, with some interesting anecdotes along the way, it is much appreciated.

For my stepfather's birthday, we made:

Menu Ten
Feeling Italian (Part 1)
Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta
Roast Pork Loin Porchetta-Style
Beans with Sage and Garlic
Nectarine and Raspberry Macedonia

Actually, we skipped the dessert in favor of his favorite raspberry pie from Turtle Bread Company. It was easier than baking a birthday cake, and was much appreciated.

While everything was delicious, the crostini stole the show. Easy to make, big flavor. Genius! I loved it.

Recipe for Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta (adapted from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis):
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt-plus another peeled garlic clove or two
  • 2 lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced into 1/2" slices
  • 1/2 lb fresh ricotta
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • A handful of clean shredded basil leaves

In a bowl, mash the shallot in the red wine vinegar with a little salt and pepper. Then whisk in the olive oil. Add the smashed garlic, and toss in the cherry tomatoes to marinate in the mixture for a few minutes.

Spread out the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler on both sides until golden. Swipe a peeled garlic clove over each piece for flavor.

Top with ricotta, salt & red pepper, cherry tomatoes and torn basil.

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