Make Ahead

Crostini with Ricotta, Honey and Lemon Zest

May 25, 2010
5 Ratings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 10 as a pre-dinner treat
Author Notes

I should probably be embarrassed by the following admission, but I'm not: anyone who has been to my apartment for drinks or dinner multiple times in the last few years has most likely had the same hors d'oeuvre more than once. The reason I'm not embarrassed? This particular hors d'oeuvre is, quite simply, good enough to eat every night. I'll admit that the concept was not my own, but hijacked from a favorite local spot in Brooklyn -- an unassuming neighborhood place called Lunetta, where the food is simple but carefully prepared, and the ingredients are always top-notch. The signature dish is a grilled slab of country bread that's rubbed with garlic, slathered with ricotta, drizzled with honey and finished off with a fine dusting of lemon zest. It's addictive. Even my fiancé, a self-professed hater of what he calls "uncooked cheese," has been known to nibble on occasion when I order one of these for my starter.

A couple of things are key to the success of this simple recipe. First, the bread must be somewhat charred -- whether you achieve this by grilling or broiling is your choice and matters little. Second, make sure to use the best quality ricotta you can find. Here in Brooklyn, we have easy access to an incredible locally made version from Salvatore Bklyn. Wherever you are, seek out the best, creamiest (and likely the most expensive) ricotta you can get your hands on. You won't regret it. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1 medium loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch slices on the diagonal (halve the slices if they're big)
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 fat clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 cups high quality, smooth whole milk ricotta
  • Maldon sea salt or kosher salt
  • Honey
  • 2 lemons
  1. Once your guests have been adequately plied with drinks and roasted almonds, or whatever else will buy you time, steal a few minutes for yourself in the kitchen or out by the grill, which should already be going strong. If you don't have a grill, set a grill pan over medium-high heat or turn on your broiler. Brush both sides of each slice of bread lightly with olive oil. Put the bread to the grill or griddle, and cook until slightly charred on each side, about 2 minutes per side; alternatively, broil the bread slices about 3 inches from the heating element, flipping them after about a minute and watching them like a hawk. When the bread is charred to your liking, remove it and rub the toasted sides lightly on one side with the cut side of the garlic clove.
  2. To the side you've rubbed with garlic, add a generous smear of ricotta (best to leave it kind of messy and rustic-looking), then drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle a bit of honey over each bruschetta and use a fine microplane grater to grate a good amount of lemon zest over the top. Serve immediately. Be prepared to make another batch.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bethL
  • Pam
  • Sabine Gagnon
    Sabine Gagnon
  • Holly Zajac
    Holly Zajac
  • Katie

38 Reviews

cricket23 February 25, 2022
A house favorite that we've been making for years.
bethL July 5, 2018
Nice, easy, delicious. Great quick nibbles. Nice to have an easy recipe.
Diane March 28, 2018
I know this is an old post but I just found it. We made these to have with cocktails last night. We loved them so much, we just made a batch for lunch with greens today. Just divine.
Kate August 20, 2017
Delicious! Made simple, but so tasty. Thank you.
NC W. May 29, 2017
I can hardly believe you ate this same recipe. You definitely have different taste buds than many of the rest of us who found this delicious
Sarah May 29, 2017
Foul to the point of being inedible. This was like eating a clean mop. Zero taste (except that I had good honey). Next time, I'll just mix the honey in with some hand lotion and save myself time. Here's how I would modify this recipe: make as directed, throw into the garbage.
jenliang13 June 6, 2023
Sounds like you ate spoiled ricotta…
Pam July 28, 2014
My daughter made these for my husband & I when we were visiting her. They were so heavenly delicious. I cannot wait to serve this at my next dinner party.
Sabine G. April 14, 2014
These were so ridiculously good and super simple to prepare. These will be going in to regular Summer BBQ rotation. Thank you for the recipe! Heavenly!
Nicole February 10, 2014
I started making this when I host guests either to serve with cocktails before dinner or to accompany soup. Everyone is always skeptical when they see the lemon and honey, but then they can't stop eating them! Don't skip the garlic rub.
Rivertree K. January 22, 2014
Sabine, you can certainly prepare the bread ahead of time, but I think the ricotta would soften the bread fairly quickly.
Sabine G. January 22, 2014
Thank you for your input. I was thinking maybe I could even mix the topping and have it on the side so guests can kind of assemble themselves. Or, I might just need to save this recipe for a dinner party where I have the luxury of more time..
Merrill S. January 22, 2014
Like the idea of letting people assemble it themselves! I agree that if these sit for more than 10 or 15 minutes, they'll start to get soggy.
Sabine G. January 22, 2014
Do you think this would be a good recipe to make ahead and set on the table until guests arrive? I am hosting a baby shower for 25 ladies and this sounds divine but I don't want to be out by the grill to prepare this. I'd like it ready for when they arrive. I'm worried it may be a soggy mess? Opinions?
htan January 17, 2013
ridiculously yummy. will be my new go to appetizer!
Holly Z. October 29, 2012
So delish.
Holly Z. October 29, 2012
Sometimes my husband and I make appetizers for dinner. We both love this one. So simple to make and very tasty.
Merrill S. October 29, 2012
So glad you like it!
NC W. June 19, 2012
This is delicious as promised even when made with part skim ricotta ( heresy I know but all I had at the time). Can't wait to try it with the good stuff
ltosoc June 18, 2012
Can you give me an idea of what is the best ricotta out there that I can buy?
Jamie A. August 22, 2013
Make your own! It's so easy. If you can boil pasta, you can make fresh ricotta at home. Totally worth it.

Fresh ricotta:
Combine 1/2 gallon of milk + juice of 1 lemon + 1 tbsp sea salt in a large stockpot. Heat gently until almost boiling (190-195 degrees, if you have a candy thermometer lying around). When the curds start to separate, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth. Too easy! Way tastier than anything at the store.
Rivertree K. June 17, 2012
I brought the makings for these (plus coarsely ground black pepper) to a party last winter. They were a huge hit. A few crystals of coarse sea salt balance the honey nicely.
Katie June 16, 2012
I made this last night but substituted mascarpone for the ricotta, as it was all that I had in my fridge. While this adjustment, combined with the honey, made the appetizer rather sweet, it was still fabulous. I look forward to trying it again when I have time to make or purchase good-quality ricotta. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!
em-i-lis April 29, 2012
Fabulously simple and delicious! I made one round with just ricotta, honey and freshly ground pepper. Also delish! Mmmm...
HeatherG February 25, 2012
These were delicious! I made this for a light lunch in the afternoon for my family and everyone loved husband added more honey to his as he likes things really sweet. My kids ate them as well as said they were really good. I'll be trying more from Merrill.