What we love about this recipe is that you can mix it up, dress it up, dress it down, make it all yourself, make none of it yourself, and it doesn’t matter – it still turns out so delicious you almost don’t know what to do with yourself. Take a bite of these crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet tapas and your taste buds start dancing. Better yet, they’re almost better the more messy and spontaneous you are when making them. No need for food stylist skills, just smear, sprinkle, and drizzle.
As with all of our recipes, the focus is the ingredients. If you get great bread, fresh organic milk, and the best honey (in our opinion that’s Mary’s honey and you can buy it here), then you’re going to have a melt-in-your-mouth appetizer.
The first step is to make the ricotta. You can do this yourself, and it’s actually quite easy, or you can buy it premade. If you get it premade, try to buy sheep’s milk ricotta which has great flavor and is easier on your stomach.
Once you’ve made the ricotta (directions below), it’s time to toast the bread. Slice the bread into ½ inch slices. Brush each slice, front and back with your best olive oil. Then, take a peeled clove of garlic, cut it in half, and rub the flat side across the surface of the bread to give it deep flavor. Now toast the bread ever so slightly under the broiler or grill, flip, and toast the other side. If you’re like me, make sure to watch the bread closely (I like to set a timer for 1 minute).
The final step is to load these babies up. Pile on the ricotta (don’t be shy), sprinkle with Maldon salt, then grind fresh pepper all over. Next, add tomatoes, figs, plums, peaches, or a medley of herbs — whatever your heart desires. Personally, we love some fresh thyme. The coup-de-gras is the honey. Drizzle all over. This is what makes them so must-have-more, can’t-get-enough, going-to-eat-these-all-myself good.
Fresh rustic baguette
Fresh cow or sheep’s milk ricotta (ingredients to make yourself below)
Salt (preferably a flake salt like Maldon)
Additional toppings: cherry tomatoes, plums, peaches, figs, basil
1 quart whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Cheese cloth (if you don’t have one you can also you a coffee filter)
- Line a colander with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it in the sink.
- Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Reduce heat to a low. Now add the vinegar one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Afterwards, pour the mixture into the lined colander and let it drain 1 hour. Season with a little more Maldon salt.
Photography: Sally Griffiths