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A toast to toast with 2-way ricotta bruschetta.

A toast to toast with 2-way ricotta bruschetta.

Apartment living is great until you burn a piece of toast, then it’s game over. The entire place will smell like toast for the next 48 hours. Luckily I love toast. I have this fantasy that one day I will invent a burnt toast scented candle and become an instant millionaire. I’m usually ushered back into reality when my fire alarm rings. It’s a charred cycle that tastes really good with butter.

The best thing about toast is that it is adaptable. You can eat it 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, which is why it is the perfect match for bruschetta.

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

There is nothing more satisfying than making a quick work lunch that looks like it came straight from the gourmet delicatessen down the street. This is why I opt for making bruschetta, because in today’s world a sandwich without a lid instantly inflates its premium.

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 to fish out the toast. 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 tubs 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 work 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? I like to think of YOLO as: 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, a celiac, or general carb hater) atop of the ricotta. This outfit is not complete yet, so 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.


This recipe was originally published on The Design Files as part of my lunch series with photos by Eve Wilson.

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