Sunday, February 12, 2017

Peppered Ricotta & Honey Crostini

I've long been a fan of peppered cheese; Boursin's peppered cheese is probably what got me started (photo below; black pepper, so it doesn't look as 'pretty', but it's still a good option, especially if you're short on time). And I learned to really love honey drizzled cheese in Italy, where it was served often. So when I saw a Crostini with Ricotta and Pink Peppercorns recipe in this month's Food Network Magazine I was excited to give it a try! Crunchy crostini, creamy ricotta, savory cheese, sweet honey and a kick from peppercorns...there's a lot to love!

baguette (about 1/2 baguette for generously spread crostini)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher/coarse salt

Ricotta spread
1 C ricotta cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/8  tsp kosher salt

¼ C honey
1½ T flaky salt*
2 T pink peppercorns, crushed

* With the pink peppercorns, I used a pink Himalayan salt to coordinate the look. However, for my taste, salting the crostini, a pinch of salt in the cheese, and then 1½ T of salt dusting them at the finish was too much salt. I like it on the finish (topping) so it is 'flavor forward' in each bite. I'd probably do without it in the ricotta. Go easy on it at first, and taste before you use it all.

As peppercorns go, green are my favorite. The pink is a pretty look -- and I'd love to try this completed crostini with sliced strawberries sometime. I think the flavors would go really well together. I'd also like to try green peppercorns sometime...a more earth-y looking presentation, and subtle flavor difference.

Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut the baguette on a slight bias into ¼" slices. Place on baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together ricotta, lemon zest, olive oil and salt.

Once cool, top each crostini generously with  with ricotta mixture. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with flaky salt and crushed pink peppercorns.

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