Here is a recipe I came across in one of my favorite food magazines, Fine Cooking. With flowers blooming and strawberry season pumping into high gear, this would be the perfect appetizer at that Mother’s Day brunch you’re hosting for your mom this year. So happy to SEE everyone at last!
What sets this recipe apart is the cinnamon sugar crostini. Toast the baguette slices in the broiler for one minute. Take them out to cool and then spread the other side with the cinnamon sugar butter … Yes, cinnamon sugar butter! Return to the broiler for one more minute until the toast is bubbling and golden brown. Don’t walk away as this could easily turn into burnt crostini if you aren’t paying attention.
The original recipe calls for ricotta cheese, but you can easily substitute goat cheese, burrata or mascarpone. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and ribbons of basil.
I made this a couple of times after photographing the ingredients, and I think it tastes best with some vanilla and lemon zest stirred into the ricotta.
The strawberries need to macerate with the sugar for at least half an hour; overnight if the berries are less than ripe.
As with most bruschetta, it is a tad messy to eat so be sure to provide plenty of napkins. Enjoy, and give your mom a hug from me!!
1 basket (1 ½ cups) fresh strawberries, stems removed and chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like cinnamon like we do)
12 slices baguette (cut ¼-inch thick on an angle so they’re about 3 inches long)
6 oz. ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
1 Meyer lemon, zested
2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade (thinly sliced)
Toss the strawberries in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar and let stand for at least 30 minutes. If the berries aren’t quite ripe, let them macerate overnight with the sugar.
In a small bowl combine the butter, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the ricotta cheese, vanilla and lemon zest. Add more vanilla to taste if so desired. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on low heat, simmer the balsamic, swirling occasionally until reduced by about half to thicken slightly. Set aside. (Or you can skip this step and use a balsamic glaze which is already thickened.)
Heat the broiler on high with the rack positioned in the center of the oven. Arrange the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and toast on one side until browned, about 1 minute. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Flip the slices and spread each with the cinnamon sugar butter. Return to the broiler and toast until bubbling and golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, gently spread about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta onto the buttered side of the baguette.
Top each toast with strawberries and some of the juices from the bowl.Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Allow the toasts to rest for at least ten minutes so the strawberry juices can soak into the bread. Garnish with the basil ribbons to serve.
Recipe lightly adapted from Fine Cooking