Bruschetta with Ricotta and Braised Chicories
Source: Shelley Lindgren and Kate Leahy, Italian Wine
Chicories aren’t just great raw. When sauteed, they deepen in flavor and their bitterness becomes sweeter, making them a great topping for bruschetta. Spreading ricotta at the base of the bread helps anchor the braised greens, but other kinds of soft or semi-soft cheeses can do the same. Add a teaspoon or two of chopped anchovy for even more savory flavor.
This recipe was demonstrated at the Foodwise Classroom on December 2, 2023.
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups mixed chicories (such as escarole or radicchio), cored, washed, and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 2 medium heads)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes Preparation
2 cups fresh ricotta (drained for a few hours in cheesecloth if very wet), or other soft cheese
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of bread, sliced crosswise (sourdough batard or Italian bread work well)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, start a grill, or have a grill pan handy.
In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the chicories and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to wilt. As they soften, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and a couple of pinches of salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the greens have wilted all the way, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste, seasoning with more salt as needed, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Taste the ricotta, stirring in a pinch or two of salt if desired.
Line a baking sheet with the slices of bread. Brush olive oil over the slices (being generous enough to coat), then flip over and repeat on the other side. If using a grill, place the slices on the grill over medium low heat, flipping them once to toast both sides. If using the oven, bake the slices on the same baking sheet until golden brown on one side, about 5 to 7 minutes, then flip them over and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve, transfer the chicories to a cutting board and chop them up. Spoon a little ricotta on top of the toast, then top with the braised chicories.