Last week I searched online for an appetizer that I needed to check off three boxes: tasty, easy and could be made ahead. I found this one on Food Network and it pretty much fit the bill. It has lots of ingredients though, but I promise there won’t be any leftovers. Except of course the basil. I wish there was a way to buy a small amount of that stuff! It starts to get nasty looking so fast. Maybe some day I’ll grow my own and be done with it.
I’ve modified it a bit based on my taste and experience, but if you duplicate FN’s recipe to the letter, you’ll be happy. Promise.
2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons very thinly sliced shallots
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
16-20 slices french bread, cut 1/4 inch on the diagonal*
5 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely shredded fresh Pecorino Romano
Preheat broiler to high and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment.
In a small bowl toss the tomatoes, shallots, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar together. Spread out the mixture on the sheet and place in oven. Broil until the tomatoes begin to show a few black spots, about 4-5 minutes with oven door closed. Turn the mixture and broil about 3-4 minutes longer. Remove from oven and transfer the mixture with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside. (This step can be done the day before).
Combine ricotta, blue cheese, pesto, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice and lemon peel in a medium bowl. (This can also be done the day before).
Arrange baguette slices on a large baking sheet and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put baking sheet on the rack and broil until golden, about 1 minute per side. Watch carefully! Remove from oven.
Season the tomato mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and peppercorns, then stir in the basil. Spread some of the ricotta mixture over each crostini. Top with tomato/onion mixture, then sprinkle with shredded cheese, dividing all the ingredients equally among the slices. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.
*If you want to prepare the tomato and/or cheese mixture a day ahead, wait until the day of serving to cut your bread.