Ricotta & Tomato Toast

Now more than ever, I find myself looking for ways to use ingredients in the refrigerator before they go to waste. Recently I had a half-full container of ricotta, grape tomatoes, and a few slices of multigrain bread. Without the help of Kitchen Remix: 75 Recipes for Making the Most of Your Ingredients by Charlotte Druckman, I never would have thought to combine them into one lunchtime meal — ricotta & tomatoes on toast.

The tomatoes are roasted with a seasoning mixture of sugar, sea salt, ground cardamom and pepper. Meanwhile, ricotta cheese is blended with olive oil, thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and baked. Toasted bread then is spread with the ricotta mixture and topped with the roasted tomatoes.

Ingredients for the roasted tomatoes:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I used kosher)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing

Ingredients for the ricotta mixture:

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese (1 pound)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (I used 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 5/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon flake salt (I used kosher)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the toast:

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) large slices crusty country loaf
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish
  • Flake salt
  • Honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, placing one rack in the center position and another under the broiler. Lightly grease a medium roasting pan.
  2. Roast the tomatoes. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, sea salt, cardamom, and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes in the prepared roasting pan, cut-side up, in a single layer. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with the sugar-spice mixture. Roast until bubbling and beginning to brown at the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the roasted tomatoes to a small serving bowl.
  3. Prepare the ricotta. In a large bowl, season the cheese with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of the fennel seeds, the flake salt, and pepper. Use a rubber spatula to combine. Transfer to an 8-inch gratin dish. Use your fingertips to spread the cheese so it fills the dish, leaving slight dimples over the surface. Sprinkle the cheese with the remaining thyme and fennel seeds, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and heat the broiler.
  4. Make the toast. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. Toast the bread on both sides under the broiler, turning it over after the top begins to brown. Remove from the oven and rub with the cut side of a garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Serve the bread topped with the ricotta and roasted tomatoes. Add a sprinkling of sea salt and honey, optional.

Other recipes include broccoli leek soup, slow-cooked zucchini, apple-oat scones, and grilled chocolate sandwiches. Kitchen Remix is available upon request from Whitehall Public Library by calling 412-882-6622 or here.

Ricotta & Tomato Toast
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