Grilled Peach and Ricotta Crostini

The best fruit of this summer season in my small corner of the world has been the PEACH and this peach and ricotta crostini is my new favorite. There are still several weeks of summer left and I have a feeling you’ll be making this recipe even beyond that. Since I started my food blogging venture a bit late in the season, I’m working overtime to share some more summertime recipe before we start rolling out recipes for fall.

Let me warn you, these crostinis are addictive. I know this because as I was testing different versions with my hubby we could not stop eating them. Seriously, I almost didn’t have enough to take the pictures. Although other versions I tested were good, this one blew my mind.

Grilled peach and ricotta crostini with crispy prosciutto and sweet basil
Grilled Peach and Ricotta Crostini

In general, crostini recipes can be easily modified to serve 4-8-16 people. When you slice the baguette thin for crostinis, it can yield between 30-32, 1/2 inch slices. The ingredient quantities in the recipe I created is for 8 servings (2 crostinis per serving because you can’t just have one trust me) so that’s 16 slices in total. If you make the entire loaf just double the recipe. If not you’ll have about half of the baguette to use for something else.

I have to admit, when I met my husband and started cooking more Italian foods, I had a super hard time with ricotta cheese. It’s just one of those cheeses that is different in consistency and lacks in flavor so it has to be seasoned. Ricotta can knock a recipe out of the park or it can totally ruin it for me if it’s not prepared properly. That said, I’m so excited for you to try this grilled peach and ricotta crostini because I’m convinced this ricotta is like butter it’s that good.

Testing the recipe

The crunch of the baguette, the creamy ricotta, together with the slight saltiness of the crispy prosciutto, and the sweetness of the grilled peach… top that with fresh sweet basil and a drizzle of maple syrup….YUUUUMMM. After testing several versions by unanimous vote, this is the recipe that will definitely be on the menu for brunch. You can really make this for any occasion for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I would totally have this for dessert. Everyone will love it. As I was testing the recipe, my second favorite was drizzled with balsamic glaze. I just love love love balsamic glaze and use it in may recipes. If you decide the try it with the glaze, be careful to drizzle lightly because too much will overpower all the other flavors. This is why I chose the version with maple syrup. Maple syrup (the real thing friends, not that high fructose syrup stuff) is honestly one of those things you can never have too much of.

Toasting the baguette slices

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 8 minutes. Just set the timer. My favorite part is you don’t have to keep an eye on them because they always come out perfect. A few minutes before I put them in I brush some olive oil on them and sprinkle some coarse sea salt. I only brush the tops by the way. When they’re done set aside. This can actually be done several hours before hand if you way to get it out of the way.

Grilled peach crostini with a lemon zest and maple infused ricotta, crispy bacon and sweet basil
Toasted baguette creamy ricotta crispy prosciutto sweet peach and basil drizzled with maple syrup

It was pouring at my house when I was making this so, I decided to bring out my panini press. I made everything on my counter instead of having to fire up the grill outside. Even though the whole process only took me about 15 minutes from start to finish, the panini press was a time saver. While I was grilling the peach slices on one half, I was cooking the prosciutto on the other. Since a crostini is a type of “finger food” meant to be eaten in a couple of bites, I think a little goes a long way as far as the amount of toppings. Also, making sure that everything is chopped so the toppings don’t fall off (for the most part) when you take a bite is key.

The ricotta

Meanwhile I prepared the ricotta (whole milk ricotta is so much better for this recipe). One cup was just enough. I stirred in the zest of one lemon and 1 1/2 tbsp. of real maple syrup. If you add more, the ricotta becomes a bit liquidy. Stir in a pinch of kosher salt (it made all the difference) and that’s it.

Grilling the peaches and prosciutto

For the peaches and the prosciutto… preheat the grill to 420 degrees. Give the peaches a quick rinse in cool water. You don’t even have to peel them. Just remove the seed and slice into 1/2 inch wedges. For the next step you really do have to stand by because it happens fast. Place half prosciutto slices on the preheated grill and then do the same for the peach slices. Close the press and count to 30. Don’t peek! It’s that fast. Remove the peaches first and then the prosciutto. The first batch I made, I left on for just a bit longer and they got mushy. Place the slices on the baking sheet and then go for the second batch. Rough chop the prosciutto, this will help to give a clean bite every time. It’s that easy, you’re ready to put the crostini together.

How to put this crostini together

Baguette slice – spread 1/2 tsp. ricotta mix – pile on the prosciutto bits – top with 2-3 slices of peach and basil chiffonade – drizzle with maple = HAPPY DANCE for you tummy!

grilled peach and ricotta crostini is a must have on every brunch menu
Grilled peach crostini is a must have on every brunch menu

Ingredients

  • Baguette loaf cut into 1/2 inch slices (16 for this recipe)
  • Two ripe peaches, thin sliced wedges
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. real maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
  • 4-6 thin slices of Prosciutto Di Parma
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Fresh basil leaves (chiffonade)
Fresh yellow peaches and sweet basil
Fresh peaches and sweet basil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with the tops with good extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse Kosher salt.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Then set aside.
  4. In a small bowl stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, maple syrup and kosher salt. Place in the fridge while preparing the peaches and prosciutto.
  5. Preheat panini grill to 420 degrees.
  6. Rinse the peaches in cold water. Remove the seed and slice into 1/2 inch wedges.
  7. Take half of the prosciutto slices and place on one side of the grill and half the peach slices on the other.
  8. Close the grill and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the peaches and spread out on a baking sheet. Then do the same for the prosciutto. The peaches are delicate when sliced thin for this recipe so keep an eye on them. You don’t want to overcook them or you’ll be making peach compote instead. Repeat with the second batch.
  9. Rough chop the prosciutto.
  10. Spread 1/2 tsp. of the ricotta mix on each baguette slice.
  11. Sprinkle on some prosciutto. Be generous ๐Ÿ™‚
  12. Top with 2-3 slices of peach.
  13. Sprinkle the basil and drizzle with maple.
  14. Enjoy!
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Grilled Peach and Ricotta Crostini

The very best brunch, lunch or dinner appetizer for the summer!! So good you can even serve this for dessert and everyone will love it. Crispy baguette slices, creamy ricotta, salty prosciutto, sweet peaches, basil and maple syrup.

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 minutes
  • Total Time: 29 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, brunch, Dessert, lunch
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 Baguette loaf (cut in 1/2 slices)
  • 2 ripe peaches sliced in thin wedges
  • 1 tbsp good olive oil
  • coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 lemon (zested)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 46 thin slices Prosciutto Di Parma
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 6 fresh basil leaves (chiffonade)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with the tops with good extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse Kosher salt.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes then set aside.
  4. In a small bowl stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, maple syrup and kosher salt. Place in the fridge while preparing the peaches and prosciutto.
  5. Preheat panini grill 420 degrees.
  6. Rinse the peaches in cold water. Remove the seed and slice into 1/2 inch wedges.
  7. Take half of the prosciutto slices and place on one side of the grill and half the peach slices on the other.
  8. Close the grill and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the peaches and spread out on a baking sheet. Then do the same for the prosciutto. The peaches are delicate when sliced thin for this recipe so keep an eye on them. You don’t want to overcook them or you’ll be making peach compote instead. Repeat with the second batch.
  9. Rough chop the prosciutto.
  10. Spread 1/2 tsp. of the ricotta mix on each baguette slice.
  11. Sprinkle on some prosciutto. Be generous ๐Ÿ™‚
  12. Top with 2-3 slices of peach.
  13. Sprinkle the basil and drizzle with maple.
  14. Enjoy!

Notes

Try a light drizzle of balsamic glaze instead of the maple for a more savory flavor.

You can toast the bread a few hours in advance and keep at room temperature.

You can prepare the ricotta mixture up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container.

If you use an outdoor bbq grill, don’t put the peach slices directly on the grill. Instead use a grill pan over the bbq to get the gill marks.

Jennifer Lopez

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

There is nothing better than cooking with fruits and vegetables that are in season. Now a days we can find pretty much anything in the market, in season or not. But when you bake a cobbler with ripe in-season peaches…GLORIOUS! For the best tasting Caprese salad ever, I chose beautiful heirloom tomatoes because Summer=Tomatoes=Happiness.

sliced yellow and red heirloom tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and balsamic glaze
Quick and easy summer time salad with heirloom tomatoes and bufala mozzarella

WHAT IS A CAPRESE SALAD AND WHY THE HEIRLOOM TOMATOES?

Potted herb garden with basil thyme and rosemary
Basil, thyme and rosemary from the garden

Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Not only does this salad pack a punch of flavor but you can make it in 5 minutes, really. The tomatoes are sliced and are arranged on a plate alternating with thick slices of fresh mozzarella and garnished with basil. This is a very popular summer salad because its refreshinf, tomatoes are in season and did I mention its so easy to make. This is typically served as an appetizer but add slices of (store bought..yes you read correctly) roasted chicken breast for an delicious weeknight meal. This is a great time to use fresh basil from your garden. My garden is really small as I’m not so great (I’m terrible actually) at growing plants but herbs are a bit more manageable in small containers that I can place right on my windowsill. For my twist on the traditional Caprese, I left out the cracked pepper and olive oil. I did add a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

As I was shopping ingredients for another recipe I happened upon the most beautiful, colorful, perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes today and voila an heirloom tomato salad appeared on my kitchen counter for lunch. I’m a little embarrassed to say that the first time I saw an heirloom tomato was not that long ago when they opened a Whole Foods market in my area. I’ve been a city girl my whole life so farmers markets were not something I had the opportunity to frequent growing up. When I finally did see them in the market though, I have to say, I walked right by them for the longest because, let’s be honest, they are a little weird looking. Until I saw them on a cooking show so I took the plunge and goodness was that a great choice. I look forward to summertime every year just to have a bite (or two or more but who’s counting) of these delicious treats.

Bowl of red, yellow and green heirloom tomatoes
Farm stand heirloom tomato varieties

Heirloom tomatoes have been grown by generations of gardeners who did not genetically modify the tomato seeds. This means heirlooms are not as resistant to disease and have a shorter shelf life. This is also what gives them that strong tomato flavor that you won’t get from a regular tomato. Heirloom variety tomatoes are open-pollinated which means you can actually take the seeds and plant them to grow your own.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium – large size heirloom tomatoes of your favorite variety and color, sliced thick
  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced thick
  • 10 sweet basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. of balsamic glaze
  • Coarse sea salt to taste

Directions

Platter of bright and juicy heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella balsamic glaze and basil leaves
Best summer salad with fresh Burrata juicy heirloom tomatoes and sweet basi
  1. On a serving platter, arrange the tomato slices alternating with the mozzarella slices.
  2. Garnish with sweet basil leaves throughout.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes

sliced yellow and red heirloom tomato salad with bufala mozzarella and toasted crostini
Serve this delicious heirloom tomato and bufala salad with a
toasted crostini or baguette slices
  • This can be served on its own or with crunchy slices of freshly toasted crostini.
  • You can drizzle good quality olive oil and season with fresh cracked black pepper for a closer version of the traditional.
  • This can be made up to 24 hours in advance but do not season until ready to serve. This includes the balsamic glaze and the olive oil, if using.
  • You probably won’t have leftovers but if you’re lucky then cover and refrigerate. Consume the following day. Note, it will not look the same as the glaze will spread and remember that the salt will bring out the juices from the tomatoes so you will see some liquid. It should still be very tasty.
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Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

Best summer salad ever. Make in 5 minutes with fresh mozzarella, ripe juicy heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, sea salt and balsamic glaze.

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Salad
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 34 medium to large heirloom tomatoes (sliced thick)
  • 4 oz. Mozzarella Burrata
  • 8 sweet basil leaves
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze
  • sea salt (to taste)

Instructions

  1. On a serving platter, arrange alternating slices of tomato and burrata
  2. Garnish with sweet basil
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze

Notes

  • This can be served on its own or with crunchy slices of freshly toasted crostini.
  • You can drizzle good quality olive oil and season with fresh cracked black pepper for a closer version of the traditional.
  • This can be made up to 24 hours in advance but do not season until ready to serve. This includes the balsamic glaze and the olive oil, if using.
  • You probably won’t have leftovers but if you’re lucky then cover and refrigerate. Consume the following day. Note, it will not look the same as the glaze will spread through the tomatoes and the salt will bring out the juices from the tomatoes so you will see some liquid. It will still be very tasty though.

Marinated Mozzarella Ciliegine

Marinated mozzarella

Thinking back on my childhood I can remember not liking cheese at all, not even on a burger (I’m still particular about that by the way). Boy did that change! Especially this summer, I’ve been on a rampage making every other recipe with some kind of cheese. This particular recipe happens to be one of my favs because I can literally make this in 5 minutes, it looks so pretty on the table and everyone loves mozzarella. I like to use the 16 oz. mason jar with the wide mouth. This will fit about 28 ciliegines plus the oil, herbs and spices.

Don’t let the fancy name for these Mozzarella Ciliegine (small balls of mozzarella) trick you into thinking it’s as hard to make as it might be for some of us (me included) to pronounce because it really is super easy. You can prepare this up to 2-3 days in advance and they’ll taste even better if you do. About half an hour before serving, take it out of the refrigerator. This will bring the oil back to room temperature. Ciliegine is a bite sized ball of delicious melt-in-your-mouth-fresh mozzarella. If you can’t find Ciliegine in your local market, you can use Bocconcini as well. They’re just a tad larger and I don’t think any one is going to complain about a larger bite of this deliciousness. I love to serve appetizers at all my parties whether it’s a cocktail party, dinner party or birthday party. Since I can make these ahead of time and every one always loves them, I make them often. These can be served along side most any other appetizer you make and they will be amazing! I like to prepare these in a mason jar and place them right next to a charcuterie board. I love to enjoy them with crunchy bread sticks, but they will disappear just the same if served on their own.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh ciliengine or bocconcini, drained of any liquid
  • 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, just the leaves (about 1tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1tsp. Kosher salt or to taste
Good quality extra virgin olive oil, parsley, basil, thyme,garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Remove the mozzarella balls from the container and place in a mason jar or glass bowl. I like to use the wide mouth 16 oz. size which will serve about 8 (28-30 ciliegine). Depending on the brand or package you buy, you may have some left to use in another recipe.

2. In another small bowl or measuring cup stir together all the other ingredients until well combined.

3. If preparing in a mason jar, pour the mixture over the ciliegine, close with the lid and give it a few shakes to make sure all that yummy goodness is well distributed throughout the entire jar. If preparing in a bowl stir the olive oil mixture with the ciliegine, cover with plastic wrap.

4. Let it rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving so the mozzarella has time to absorb the flavors of the marinade.

5. Enjoy!

Extra virgin olive oil and fresh spices with delicious mozzarella bites

How to serve these delicious bites

I like to serve these at a party with crunchy bread sticks, pita chips, or toasted baguette, but they are just as good on their own for a small snack too.

These are also a nice compliment to a platter with cured meats and veggies like roasted red peppers, artichokes, marinated olives, cornichons…this takes it to another level!

Notes

After a couple of hours in the refrigerator, the oil will solidify so don’t forget to allow time for it to come to room temperature before serving.

For the lemon zest, I like to use a peeler and cut a couple of thin slices of the zest and finely chop them. The lemony taste of the thyme and the chopped lemon zest really jump out in the great flavors of this recipe.

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Mozzarella Ciliegine

Creamy fresh mozzarella balls marinated in extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and spices

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Mozzarella Ciliegine
  • 3/4 cup Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 3 sprigs Thyme (stems removed)
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. Lemon zest (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Remove Ciliegine from the store bought container and place them in a glass bowl or mason jar and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl or measuring cup add all other ingredients and stir until well combined.
  3. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes and up to 2 hours if you can. The longer it sits the better it will taste.
  4. Enjoy!