Earthy beets and sweet cherries are an unexpected yet totally smashing duo. These meal-worthy toasts are one of my very favorite ways to enjoy them.
A note on the beets. Many different kinds will work: marinated, pickled (as long as they're not too acidic), roasted, or steamed. This is my favorite method for roasting beets: https://food52.com/recipes... —EmilyC
4 big toasts
Finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
sweet cherries, pitted and torn into halves
marinated, roasted, or steamed beets (purchased or homemade), chopped roughly the same size as the cherries
large slices from a loaf of crusty bread (such as ciabatta or sourdough), about 1/2-inch thick
In a bowl, mix together ricotta, lemon zest, and extra-virgin olive oil until smooth and well integrated. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper (I like to go heavy on the black pepper).
To make basil salt: on a cutting board, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sea salt over the basil. Chop and smear them together until the basil is finely chopped and well integrated with the salt.
In another bowl, mix together cherries and beets. Season to taste with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and toss a few times. Add a few large pinches of the basil salt, and toss again. (Set aside for about 5 minutes, then taste again, adding more lemon juice and/or basil salt if needed.)
To make toasts: In a large nonstick skillet, add olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the bread (in batches if needed). Toast for a minute or two on the first side, peeking to see if it’s brown and toasty, then flip and toast the other side. Remove from the skillet and let cool for a few minutes.
To assemble toasts: Smear each slice of bread with ricotta, then top with cherries, beets, and mint. Serve immediately, and bring any leftover cherries and beets to the table for spooning on the side.