Mixed cheese crostini

Mixed cheese crostini
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 20 min for each type. Each topping is enough for about 10 crostini

Topped with a choice of radicchio and mozzerella, pea, broad bean and ricotta or cherry and goat’s cheese- mixed cheese crostini are little bites of Venetian heaven.

Ingredients

For the bases

  • Long, thin baguette
  • Halved garlic cloves

Radicchio and mozzarella

  • 1 radicchio
  • Plug of olive oil
  • Juice of ½-1 lemon
  • Pieces of buffalo mozzarella
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, season

Pea, broad bean and ricotta

  • 2 handfuls of blanched peas
  • 1 handful of double-podded broad beans
  • 4 tbsp ricotta
  • 15g grated parmesan
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Tiny basil leaves

Cherry and goat’s cheese 

  • Hard goat’s cheese
  • 20-25 ripe cherries
  • A little clear honey
  • Thyme leaves
  • Sea salt

Method

For the bases

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Slice a long, thin baguette into 1cm slices, then put on a wire rack in the oven.
  2. Bake for 6-7 minutes until almost completely crisp (the centres should be a bit chewy), then remove from the oven and rub each with the cut side of halved garlic cloves.
  3. Leave to cool completely on the wire rack.

Radicchio and mozzarella

  1. Separate the leaves from 1 radicchio and halve any large ones lengthways (leave smaller leaves whole).
  2. Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan, then wilt the radicchio leaves (don’t crowd them) in the pan for 30 seconds or so on each side until soft, floppy and lightly charred in places.
  3. Remove to a plate, season with salt and drizzle with the juice of ½-1 lemon. Put the warm leaves on the bases with pieces of buffalo mozzarella (you’ll need 150g).
  4. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season, then serve.

Pea, broad bean and ricotta

  1. Put 2 handfuls of blanched peas and 1 handful of double-podded broad beans (about 2 handfuls in their skins) in a food processor (reserving some for decoration) with 4 tbsp ricotta, 15g grated parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), the grated zest of ½ lemon and a large pinch of salt. Whizz to combine, then pour in extra-virgin olive oil to give a coarse houmous consistency.
  2. Spread it over the bases, then top with the reserved peas, broad beans and tiny basil leaves.
  3. Drizzle with more oil, squeeze over some lemon juice, then serve.

Cherry and goat’s cheese

  1. Top the crostini bases with shavings of hard goat’s cheese (I used a cheese called testun al barolo, available from good delis. You could use a young pecorino; you’ll need 300g).
  2. Halve and stone 20-25 ripe cherries, then place on top of the cheese and drizzle with a little clear honey.
  3. Scatter with thyme leaves and sea salt to serve.

delicious. tips

  1. Make the bases 24 hours ahead and keep in an airtight container. Warm gently in the oven before topping, or freeze in bags for up to 1 month and warm from frozen. Make the pea, broad bean and ricotta topping up to 24 hours ahead. Chill, then bring to room temperature before serving.

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