As I mentioned earlier in the week, Good Life Eats was one of my first favorite food blogs; I spent a lot of time in my mid-20’s scouring this site, trying to teach myself how to make simple recipes actually taste good. This herbed ricotta & tomato crostini is the perfect example of a quick and easy meal that is actually enjoyable. It’s perfect for warm-weather evenings: a versatile snack or simple dinner that takes about ten minutes to throw together, no stove required. (Ok, I did use my stove to toast the bread since we don’t have a toaster, but if you *do* have a toaster, you’re golden.) (Just like your toast!) 😀
I will say that with this recipe, you don’t want to skimp on the parmesan. Ricotta is a nice base for the herb spread, but it’s a bland cheese, and unless you’re really delighted by bland cheese (some people are, no judgment!), you will want to get a more aggressive flavor in there. In fact, if you have leftover cream cheese from this week’s Irish grilled cheese sandwich, you could try adding some of that.
I really wish I’d had balsamic vinegar on hand for this recipe; I only had my store-brand bottle of red wine vinegar, which I thought would be sufficient. While it’s great in salad dressings (which is what I primarily use it for), a stronger balsamic would have helped here; with such simple preparation, each ingredient really needs to pull its weight. I usually make a point of spending a little extra to get the best oil and vinegar I can afford; I feel like a spoiled debutante every time I make one of these purchases, but A) it does seem (based on my limited research) like Kim Kardashian et. al. don’t spend a lot of time thinking about fancy vinegar, and B) it makes a huge difference in the final taste, especially in pared-down dishes like this. Saint John has a cute downtown shop that sells local oil and vinegar; I know this because we walked past it several times when we were staying downtown waiting to close on our house, but I don’t remember where it is or what it was called. Next time we’re in town, I’ll make a point to find it and resupply.
In any case, I used a heavy hand with the parmesan (after the photo was taken, of course – I seem to need to get two or three bites into a dish before I remember the last ingredient), and also added some extra salt and pepper, and this still turned out delicious. I’m definitely looking forward to making it again later in the summer when I have fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden.