A Platter of Figs by David Tanis is a beautifully written and conceived cookbook. It's one of those cookbooks where you'll read the foreword (by Alice Waters in this case) and 20 pages later realize you're still going! I particularly enjoyed reading about the beginnings of Chef Tanis' culinary career and about his time spent running the downstairs kitchen at Chez Panisse. It must be nice to run such a wonderful kitchen 6 months out of the year and spend the other 6 meandering along the streets of Paris...What a dream! (sigh).
This particular book is filled with simple, but flavor-packed recipes. One of my favorite things about this book is that it is divided into sections according to the seasons and the produce that's available at that time. Chef Tanis is known for his uncomplicated recipes, which incorporate nothing but the finest ingredients. After all, why should a recipe be complicated and fussy when simplicity is sometimes the best way to really showcase the freshness and quality of seasonal produce? That's his basic philosophy.
As David says:
"Simplicity is key. People who cook fussy food for their friends seem to have the least fun. I say leave that fussy food to those with a staff and a paid dishwasher....A meal needn't be fancy, nor should it take all day to make."
This recipe for Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta is one such dish. After spending one weekend afternoon gathering the best and freshest ingredients around town for this recipe, I was ready to go! My loot included a fresh baguette from Continental Bakery, ricotta cheese from Nabeel's Cafe & Market, and a basil plant and grape tomatoes from the Pepper Place Market.
After purchasing the ingredients, my mouth was watering at the thought of the deliciousness that we would have for dinner that evening. The finished crostini did not disappoint. The dressing that the tomatoes are marinated in is quite incredible, especially when paired with the crunch from the baguette and the fresh ricotta. It all comes together to form a burst of yumminess with each and every bite!
Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta
Source: A Platter of Figs by David Tanis
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with a little salt, plus another peeled garlic clove or two
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Italian ciabatta
- 1/2 pound fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 handful basil leaves
- In a medium bowl, macerate the shallot in the red wine vinegar with a little salt. After a few minutes, whisk in the olive oil. Add the pounded garlic and the cherry tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Leave to marinate for a few minutes.
- Cut the ciabatta into 1/2-inch slices. Spread the slices on a baking sheet and toast on both sides under the broiler until golden. Swipe the toasts very lightly with a peeled garlic clove. Don’t push too hard on the garlic—you want the bread to have just a hint of garlic flavor.
- Spread a tablespoon of fresh ricotta on each toast, then put them on a platter. Sprinkle with a little salt and a little red pepper. Spoon the marinated cherry tomatoes over the toasts. Sliver or tear the basil leaves and strew over the crostini.