Inevitably we find ourselves at the end of a dinner party with left over bread…probably because any time we entertain we always include a flavorful loaf or two to include in the bread basket. I used to just toss it, but hating to waste anything, I often wrap it up and freeze it for another day, using it to make bread crumbs, croutons or bread pudding. I had the idea last week though to simply thaw out the frozen bread (day old bread will work as well, as long as it is a good, rustic, crunchy loaf) rub it with a bit of olive oil and throw it on a hot grill for about 2-4 minutes per side to create a good char on it, and then top it with a few simple ingredients for a perfect party appetizer. Within minutes of setting these out they were gone….looks like I know what to do with all that bread in the future.
Grilled Balsamic Peaches with Ricotta and Mint on Grilled Bread
4 semi-ripe peaches, cut into quarters with the seed removed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Freshly ground black pepper
Ricotta cheese (we used low fat)
6 slices of day old, rustic loaf bread
Add the peaches, balsamic, sugar and 1 tablespoon of mint to a bowl and let marinate, turning often, for at least a hour. Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium heat. Rub the bread with a bit of olive oil and grill on each side until toasted and slightly charred. Set aside. Rub the grill with a bit of olive oil and add each slice of peach. Grill until caramelized, turning several times throughout the process. You could pour the marinade into a pan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to drizzle on the peach toasts, or discard. To assemble the toasts, cut each slice in half or quarters (you want just a bit larger than bite size pieces) and spread with ricotta. Season each slice with freshly cracked pepper. Drizzle a bit of honey on each slice. Top with a few pieces of peach and sprinkle the remaining mint across all of the toasts. If you have reduced the balsamic drizzle across the top of the peach toasts. Serve either warm or at room temp.
Avocado, Ricotta and Pepper Toasts
It was shocking how delicious and how simple this was. Though each component is delicious on its own, add them all together created the harmonious marriage that I can’t wait to recreate again.
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/2 inch slices and covered with lemon juice to keep the slices from turning brown.
Zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Flake sea salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 slices rustic bread, cut into halves or quarters (again, you want slightly larger than bite size pieces)
High quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Chopped fresh herbs for garnish
Rub a bit of regular olive oil on the bread and grill over medium heat (just like you did with the peach toasts.) Assemble each toast by spreading ricotta on the base of each piece, sprinkle with black pepper and lemon zest. Layer slices of avocado on each toast. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and a bit of flake sea salt. Drizzle a healthy dose of extra virgin olive oil over the top of each toast. Garnish with a bit of chopped chives or parsley.