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Strawberry Ricotta Toast

Pull out all the stops with this creative appetizer
Strawberry Ricotta Toast recipe - The Daily Meal
Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune; Food styling by Mark Graham

Toasted bread is spread with ricotta, then covered with a strawberry sauce flavored with cardamom, bay leaves, coriander seeds, ginger and thyme. Don't walk away while the bread is in the broiler—it burns easily.

This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 loaf (about 1/2 pound) multigrain sourdough bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons very thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • Freshly ground grains of paradise (or black pepper)
  • 1 Cup honey and thyme strawberry sauce (recipe follows)

For the honey and thyme strawberry sauce:

  • 2 quarts (2 pounds) halved small strawberries (quartered if large), about 6 cups
  • 2 thin strips orange peel (orange only, no white pith)
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon thyme

Directions

Step 1: Heat broiler.

Step 2: Cut 1/2 loaf (about 1/2 pound) multigrain sourdough bread into 3/4-inch thick slices. Cut each bread slice on an angle into thirds, making triangle-shaped pieces. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of each bread piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste.

Step 3: Broil, 4 inches from the heat source, until bread is nicely toasted with crusty edges, about 2 minutes. Turn each bread piece, and return to the broiler to toast the other side, about 2 more minutes.

Step 4: Put 1 carton (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese into a shallow bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Scatter 2 to 3 teaspoons very thinly sliced fresh mint leaves over the oil, and sprinkle with grains of paradise (or black pepper).

Step 5: Put 1 cup honey and thyme strawberry sauce (recipe follows) into another bowl. Set the toasts around the bowls of ricotta and strawberry sauce. Have guests spread some of the ricotta onto the warm toast and top with the strawberries.

For the honey and thyme strawberry sauce:

Step 1: To a large 4-quart saucepan, add 2 quarts (2 pounds) halved small strawberries (quartered if large), 2 thin strips orange peel (orange part only), 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup dry red wine, 1/4 cup honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. (Use a deep pot to prevent boil-overs.)

Step 2: To a tea ball infuser (or wrap in a double thickness of cheesecloth and tie closed), add 8 cardamom pods, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1/2 inch piece peeled fresh ginger (thinly sliced) and 1/4 teaspoon thyme. Add to the pan, tucking it under the strawberries.

Step 3: Heat to a simmer over medium heat, being sure to submerge the tea ball. Let simmer on medium-low, stirring often, until strawberries soften and juices thicken slightly, about 25 minutes.

Step 4: Cool completely. Remove the orange peel and the tea ball. Refrigerate the sauce in a tightly covered container overnight or up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 cups.