Recently, I was trying to organize my recipe index here on the site. In doing so, I realized 2 things:
1. I’m hardly better at organizing my online recipes than I am at organizing the hand-written and clipped from magazines/newspaper recipes that you’ll find strewn about my house. My index was/still is kind of a mess. And,
2. I’ve hardly shared any appetizer recipes on my website!
Disorganization–duh, that was a given. Ask anyone who has ever lived with me; I am the slobbiest slobs. But only a handful of appetizers in 6 months time? That came as a shock. That’s not right. In my household of 2, we’re just as likely to have a plateful of crostini with a bottle of wine on the couch for dinner, as we are to dine on roast chicken and potatoes at the table. Normally, this is a last minute, late night affair which is why it never makes the blog. I bring home a baguette from the restaurant, slice it up, toast it, and root around the refrigerator until I find something I can transform into a topping. My other half is in charge of what he does best–opening the wine.
This batch of crostini was pre-meditated though, and I dare say, share-worthy. They’re topped with fork-smashed peas, prosciutto ham, and creamy ricotta cheese. They scream spring (!), are easy to make, light enough to precede a meal, and, if eaten by the half dozen, tasty enough to be the meal.
Let’s make some crostini. Grab your ingredients: fresh, creamy ricotta cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto, plenty of peas, basil, lemon, and a baguette.
First things first, turn your bread into crostini. Slice, drizzle, and pop them in the oven ’til they’re golden.
Smash the peas with the back of a fork. Stir in ricotta, add a squeeze of lemon, toss in a handful of chopped basil, sprinkle with salt, and finish with a few grindings of black pepper.
Smear a little of the ricotta-pea mash on the crostini to anchor the prosciutto. Fold the prosciutto over the top and dollop with more ricotta. Garnish with lemon zest and a few threads of basil.
Success: I’ve got one more recipe for the index and one more appetizer in my couch-dinner repertoire.
- 1 Baguette, cut crosswise into ¼-1/2 in. thick slices
- Olive Oil
- 2 c. Frozen Peas 2 min salted water
- 1 c. Fresh Ricotta, drained in a colander lined with cheesecloth (or a coffee filter)
- ¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Basil (fresh mint or tarragon would be nice alternatives), thinly sliced or torn, plus additional for garnish
- juice & zest from 1 Lemon
- ¼ # Prosciutto, very thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 400°. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle or brush with olive oil. Bake until lightly golden and crunchy, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the peas in simmering, salted water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Smash the peas, using the back of a fork or a potato masher. Personally, I like the rustic, chunky look, but if you'd prefer a more evenly green topping for your crostini, puree the peas in a food processor until smooth. Fold in the ricotta and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp. basil, and about 2 tsp. of lemon juice.
- Assemble the crostini. Spread a very small amount of the ricotta-pea mash on the each crostini. This will serve as the "glue" to hold the prosciutto in place. Take about a ¼ of a slice of prosciutto and drape it over the top of the crostini. Spoon a heaping tsp. of the ricotta-pea mash on top of the prosciutto. Sprinkle with additional basil and lemon zest.
A Few Thoughts for the Road…
If you don’t need 36 crostini (that’s a lot!), you could cut the recipe in half. Or you could make the full batch of the pea-ricotta mash, use it to top 12 crostini, and put the rest to other uses. It would be delightful dolloped on softly scrambled eggs or tossed with homemade pappardelle pasta. You could fold it into a simple risotto, top with crispy pancetta or bacon and a poached egg. Spread it on an impromptu pizza with shaved asparagus? I think I know what I’m having for lunch…