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Author Notes: When I think about creating a recipe with a particular ingredient, I get inspiration from the origin of the ingredient. So for ricotta, I thought of classic Italian ingredients that would compliment, without overwhelming, the cheese. Here I used a peppered salami and roasted fennel. The savory salami together with the sweet roasted fennel play enhance each other and don't overpower the ricotta. To balance out the whole dish, I used a dash of aged sherry vinegar on the fennel. Just for fun, I topped the crostini with a fried sage leaf. All of the flavors relate to one another and topped on a crispy crostini, the textures work beautifully. —meganvt01
- 1 good quality baguette
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat your broiler and move an oven rack to the top position.
- Slice the baguette diagonally to get a larger piece of bread.
- Using a kitchen brush, brush each side of the crostini with extra virgin olive oil.
- Sprinkle each side of the crostini with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the crostini on a broiler rack and broil one to two minutes per side. The crostini should be crispy but not too hard.
- Set the crostini aside for later assembly!
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 splash aged sherry vinegar
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 sage leaves
- 6 slices best quality peppered salami, cut in shapes to fit on your crostini
- Preheat your oven to 425.
- Remove the fronds and core from the fennel bulb and roughly chop.
- Toss the chopped fennel with the 2 T extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Place the fennel on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to ensure the fennel does not burn. Remove from oven and put in a bowl with a splash of sherry vinegar (not too much!)
- Mix the lemon zest into the ricotta. Set aside.
- Put the 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat in a small skillet.
- Cook the sage leaves in the hot oil for approximately one minute, until crisp but not brown.
- Transfer the sage leave a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt.
- Slice the salami in half, placing each half lengthwise on the crostini. Slather the salami with 2 tablespoons or so of ricotta, depending on the size of your slice. Top the ricotta with 1 to 2 tablespoons of roasted fennel. Top the entire crostini with a fried sage leaf.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Appetizer to Share with Friends
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Hors d'Oeuvre
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fennel
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dish with Meat as a Flavoring
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Fresh Ricotta