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Crostini or Bruschetta?

Cherry Tomato CrostiniI am a massive fan of bruschetta.

Anything that involves grilling slices of bread, rubbing them with a raw garlic clove, and finishing with fresh, seasonal ingredients followed by a glug of tasty olive oil, I swoon. I first became greatly enamored with bruschetta courtesy of the ladies at London’s River Cafe most notably their first cookbook which features gorgeous,  rustic Italian recipes.

Included in this book are several pages of an endless array of  varying bruschetta pictures, such as tender asparagus with shaved Parmesan. The visuals are stunning and will leave you with plenty of inspiration.

A week ago, I was leafing through my copy of David Tanis’ indispensible book, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes” and happened upon the following recipe for a cherry tomato crostini with ricotta.

Continuing with my tomato fetish–along with any excuse to eat fresh ricotta–I decided to make this for two recent dinner parties. What a hit, with guests devouring these flavorful treats, their chins glistening with olive oil.

Yet, the name of the recipe is a bit of a misnomer as the preparation is classic bruschetta–sizeable slices of grilled bread rubbed with a clove of garlic with a fresh topping. Crostini in my mind has always been tinier slices of bread typically smeared with a tapenade-y topping or soft cheese.

Crostini/bruschetta, Bruschetta/crostini, these are delicious and a great way of using up your cherry tomatoes.

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons 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 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
1 loaf Italian ciabatta
1/2 pound fresh ricotta
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
A handful of basil leaves

In a medium bowl, macerate the shallot in the red wine vinegar with a little salt. After a few minutes, whish in the olive oil. Add the pounded garlic and the cherry tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Leave to marinate for a few minutes.

Cut the ciabatta into 1/2 inch slices. Spread the slices on a baking sheet and toast on both sides under the broiler until golden. Swipe the toasts very lightly with a peeled garlic clove. Don’t push too hard on the garlic–you want the bread to have just a hint of garlic flavor.

Spread a tablespoon of fresh ricotta on each toast, then put them on a platter. Springle with a little salt and a little red pepper. Spoon the marinated cherry tomatoes over the toasts. Sliver or tear the basil leaves and strew over the crostini.

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