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Cheer Perfection

Upgrade your holiday meal with recipes from great American chefs

CHRIS SANTOS, BEAUTY & ESSEX
New York City

The chef and regular host of Food Network’s “Chopped” serves these festive crostini at his scene-y Manhattan restaurant and lounge (it even offers champagne in the women’s restroom). Topped with whipped ricotta, juicy pear and fresh basil, these flavorful toasts are the perfect starter for any holiday gathering.

WHIPPED RICOTTA AND PEAR CROSTINI

For toast:
1 loaf crusty bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Melted butter for brushing

For topping:
1 lb. fresh ricotta 
1/3 c. heavy cream 
1 1/2 oz. roasted garlic, mashed 
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
4 c. fresh pear, diced 
1/4 bunch basil, finely cut 
2 t. chili flakes, crushed
1 oz. lemon juice
Lavender honey, for drizzling

1. Preheat grill pan over medium heat. Brush bread slices with melted butter and grill until crispy.

2. In large bowl, whip together ricotta, heavy cream and roasted garlic. Slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil, stirring to combine.

3. Combine pear, basil, chili flakes and lemon juice in medium bowl.

4. Spread ricotta mixture on crostini and top with seasoned pear. Finish with drizzle of lavender honey and more olive oil.

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