When I was younger my favorite restaurant was an Italian restaurant in Rockville, Maryland called Il Pizzico. They had a few dishes that I loved - a shrimp and tomato crostini, a pasta with stewed calamari and dessert called "chocolate salami." We started going there for dinner when it was a really small cafe with a glass case at the front full of desserts and stopped going after it got all fancy and expensive. I believe Il Pizzico was also my first experience with tiramisu, but I didn't grow to love tiramisu until years later. Once they fancied the restaurant up, they took all of our favorite dishes off the menu in favor of other, less homestyle dishes and raised prices dramatically. So that was the end of that. I haven't been back to Il Pizzico in at least 15 years, but it had a lasting effect on my diet - my love of crostini stems from meals I ate at that restaurant. I really should ask my mother what went in the crostini aside from shrimp, scallions and tomatoes because she used to make a version of it at home that I would love to recreate. And I am determined to make chocolate salami eventually just to see if it can possibly be as good as I remember it being.
Back in June of this year Bon Appetit had an article called "Summer Crostini 7 Ways." Two of the recipes from that article immediately caught my eye - this one, and a recipe for Tomato, Mozzarella and Thai Basil Crostini that we made about a month ago. There are a few other recipes that I want to try from that issue (including one for Peas, Mint and Parmesan Crostini), but I figure I will get around to them eventually. I decided this morning that these crostini would be the perfect light lunch served alongside a simple arugula salad. We had some of the really nice local ricotta that I picked up from Whole Foods the other day left in the fridge, so we went to the farmers' market this morning and picked up some fresh peaches and some ciabatta bread. Then we wandered down to Salumeria Rosi to pick up some of their amazing prosciutto. By the time we accomplished all that it was about 12:45 pm and I was starving so we whipped up some crostini. I really liked this recipe, but Alex and I both agreed that the Tomato, Mozzarella and Thai Basil Crostini was better. Alex wanted there to be more prosciutto on each crostini, but that's because he is obsessed. I thought the amount of prosciutto he wanted totally obscured the flavor of the ricotta and the fresh peaches. The recipe is inspired by the traditional Italian combination of prosciutto and melon and all in all, I think in this case traditional might be better. While I enjoyed the summery flavors of this crostini, the combination of peach and prosciutto wasn't quite as successful to me. Even so I thought it was a really lovely lunch.
Recipe after the jump!
Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini
12 slices ciabatta bread
1 ripe peach
1 tablespoon fresh ricotta (preferably sheep's milk)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices of prosciutto
Grill (or toast) bread slices.
Halve, pit, and thinly slice peach.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon ricotta onto each toast and sprinkle with ground pepper. Tear prosciutto into feathery pieces and drape a few slices over ricotta on each. Drizzle each with honey and top with 2 peach slices.