Lisa's Lunches · Ricotta Bruschetta Two Ways

Food

Today our very own  is BACK with another LMC lunchtime classic – bruschetta. Basically, fancy Italian toast.

Lisa loves ricotta. She buys a big tub and brings it into work on a Monday, then somehow weaves it into every meal she consumes that week. Her ricotta bruschetta is so simple it barely warrants a recipe – you can’t really go wrong with toasted crunchy bread and a generous slathering of good ricotta, topped with fresh tomatoes / herbs / zucchini / salmon, and a drizzle of olive oil. Too easy.

 

21st June, 2016

Ricotta bruschetta two-ways. Recipe by . From left to right: Hay tote bag from  and , plates by  and Cutipol cutlery from Photo –  Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – .

Ricotta bruschetta two-ways. Recipe by . From left to right: HAY Bits and Bobs from  and , plates by  and Cutipol cutlery from , Anne et Valentin glasses from , small dish by  Recipe by  Photo –  Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – .

Apartment living is great until you burn a piece of toast, then it’s game over. The entire place will smell like burnt toast for the next 48 hours. Luckily I love toast. I sometimes fantasise that one day I will invent a burnt toast scented candle and become an instant millionaire. I’m usually ushered back into reality when the smoke alarm rings.

The best thing about toast is that it is adaptable. It is perfect either sweet or savoury. You can turn it into croutons. Heck, you can even use it as a sponge to mop a plate of food clean. Toast does not discriminate.

Bruschetta is an Italian antipasto dish of toasted bread rubbed with garlic, oil and salt. Basically it is the culinary version of a really good pair of jeans, it’s great by itself but you can dress it up or down depending on your mood. Bruschetta with tomato and basil is the equivalent to jeans worn with a striped Breton top, it’s classic – though sometimes it’s good to try on a different outfit. Personally, I like to wear my bruschetta with ricotta and accessorise.

INGREDIENTS

2 slices of good crunchy bread
1 x tub of ricotta (I use Alba Cheese)
Extra virgin olive oil

For the tomato and basil bruschetta

Handful of mixed cherry and grape tomatoes
Basil
Balsamic vinegar
Pomegranate molasses
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper

For the zucchini and smoked salmon bruschetta

1 green zucchini
Smoked salmon
Parsley
Lemon Juice
Capers, optional
Spanish Onion, optional
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Method

Pop your sliced bread into the office’s most prized possession: the toaster. If your work does not have a toaster in the communal kitchen, quit immediately.

Set the toaster to high-medium, we’re aiming for toast with the perfect crunch that rains breadcrumb confetti when you take a bite.

Remove toast from toaster. Do not use a metal knife to do this. Or fork. Or spoon for that matter. When I am desperate I use chopsticks. It’s illogical but sensible.

Rub the base of the toast with oil and a little bit of salt. You can rub a clove of garlic here too if you want to be really traditional, but taking cloves of garlic to work is not a good look, so I skip this step.

As I am equal parts lazy and motivated, I usually bring a tub of ricotta to work on a Monday and keep it in the fridge for the week. Ricotta, like toast, is versatile. I get Alba ricotta because I like the cow logo on it. I also have an affinity with the tub because my Nonna has been giving me leftovers in empty Alba containers since I can remember. It’s always a surprise when I open a tub and actually find ricotta inside, as usually I am half expecting to find minestrone.

Dollop 2-3 tablespoons of ricotta on each piece of toast. Now let’s accessorise with some ricotta bruschetta options.

Option one is the Breton stripe of the bruschetta world – tomatoes and basil. Get a handful of cherry and grape tomatoes and slice them, put in a bowl. Rustically tear some basil leaves and pretend you’re an extra in Under the Tuscan Sun. You might be in the office kitchen, but for the next five minutes you are best friends with Diane Lane in her Tuscan villa.

Add salt, cracked pepper, a generous glug of olive oil, a splash of balsamic and my secret ingredient – a splash of pomegranate molasses. Mix together, then assemble your dressed tomatoes atop of the ricotta.

Option two is not very traditional, but YOLO, right? (You Only Lunch Once). In a bowl mix together raw zucchini using a julienne peeler, parsley leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The acidity of the lemon juice does some magical curing of the raw zucchini. Put the raw zucchini salad (which tastes excellent on its own if you are GF / celiac / general carb hater) atop of the ricotta. This outfit is not complete yet – we then add a few layers of smoked salmon, thinly sliced red onion and capers. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with more olive oil.

Go back to your desk, take a bite. It’s not Tuscany, but it’s close.

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