This is not your typical lemon confit. As much as I love those traditional preserved lemons, I had something a little different in mind for this recipe. I wanted to get that same salty tang, but to add a little more richness. So I baked lemon slices for a good, long time in a hearty dose of salt and olive oil. The result is these little slivers--salty, sour, and so tender they all but melt in your mouth.
On their own, they're intense. But the mild, fresh ricotta balances out their sour, slightly bitter bite perfectly. The thyme and walnuts round everything out with a little freshness and texture. —Marguerite Preston
Make the confit: Preheat the oven to 350F. Scrub the lemons well and cut off both ends. Cut each lemon in half lengthwise, then slice as thinly as possible. Remove and seeds.
Place lemons in a small baking dish (an 8x8 pan or a loaf pan works well), and add salt, olive oil, and honey. Toss a few times to combine. If lemons are not submerged in olive oil, add a little more to cover.
Bake lemons for about an hour, until the rind is translucent and meltingly tender. Remove lemons from oil and let cool in a small bowl or other container.
NOTE: You may reserve the oil for another use if you like, however, it will be quite bitter from the lemons. I chose to discard mine.
Assemble the crostini: Slice the baguette on the diagonal, brush the slices with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet and bake until they begin to toast. When the toast is ready, spread each slice with a little ricotta and drape a few lemon slices on top. Sprinkle each crostini with a pinch of fresh thyme leaves and a scatter some walnuts on top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.