A favorite for spring and summer, these toasties make for the perfect appetizer when entertaining or an easy weeknight meal served alongside a big green salad. They take just a few minutes to assemble and are full of so many bright and seasonal flavors. Feel free to play around with other toppings you might have at home -- white beans or asparagus are delicious instead of fresh green peas, pear can be easily swapped for stone fruit, and a sharp manchego can be used instead of a creamy blue. The options are truly endless, but below are some of my favorites and when served together make for a unique balance of flavors and something for everyone, if serving at a dinner party.
Makes 10-12 toasts
1 loaf of ciabatta, filone or a baguette, sliced
Flaky sea salt
1-2 cloves of garlic
Toppings, see below
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a large pour of olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet, about 4-6 tablespoons.
Once olive oil is hot, place the slices of bread in the skillet and grill until each side is crispy and golden brown. Remove from heat and place on serving platter. For a garlicy base, rub a clove of peeled garlic on toasted bread. For a lemony base, top slices with lemon zest. These are both optional additions, but if you love either flavor, the more the merrier.
Assemble toppings on toasted slices + enjoy! I usually like to do 2 or 3 of each, depending on the size of my bread and how many people will be enjoying.
For Ricotta + Stonefruit
4oz ricotta 1-2 stone fruits, slices
A few berries, optional A few drizzles of honey
Small handful flowering thyme or other flowering herb Flaky sea salt
Mix ricotta in small bowl so it gets soft and creamy. Add a dollop or two to toasted bread and spread. Top with slices of stone fruit, berries and flowering thyme, a drizzle of honey and pinch of flaky sea salt.
Goat Cheese +Marinated Peas
4oz goat cheese, room temperature
8oz fresh peas
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice + zest
A few torn basil leaves
Flaky sea sat + freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, mix olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice + zest and a pinch of sea salt. Add sliced shallot and marinate for a minute. Add fresh peas and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
While the dressing marinates, whip goat cheese in a small bowl until soft and creamy. You may want to add a spoonful of olive oil to loosen it up. Add a few torn basil leaves to marinated peas and give it a good stir.
To assemble, spread a dollop or two of whipped goat cheese to sliced bread and top with marinated peas. Sprinkle with flaky salt, freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Cornichons, Wildflower Honey + Blue Cheese
4 oz good quality creamy blue cheese, sliced 4-6 cornichons, cut in half lengthwise 2 radish, thinly sliced A few drizzles of wildflower honey
Flaky sea salt
Top toasted bead with a slice or two of blue cheese, a few halves of cornichons, 2-3 slices of radish, a drizzle of honey and pinch of flaky sea salt.
Ricotta, Pesto + Garden Tomatoes 4oz ricotta
4oz pesto 1 heirloom tomato or handful of cherry tomatoes A few basil leaves Freshly grated parmesan, for garnish Flaky salt + freshly ground pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
In a small bowl, combine ricotta and pesto.
Top toasted bread with a dollop or two of ricotta + pesto mixture, 1-2 slices of heirloom tomato and basil leaves. Garnish with a healthy grating of parmesan, flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper and drizzle of olive oil.