Bruschette are the perfect small bites (merenda) and are great anytime of the day. These nourishing small meals are defined by the season and what’s in my pantry. They can be sweet (Ricotta and Strawberry), savory (Brussels Sprouts), or sweet and savory (Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant) and when peaches are in season, Peach and Prosciutto are always a summer treat!
Earlier this week, I was with a friend in a medical facility and we were both in need of a coffee. Much to our delight we stumbled upon a small cafe, rather than a hospital cafeteria. Claudia’s Café, a classic bistro provides wholesome food, offering breakfast and lunch, with nutritious selections to nourish our bodies and delicious treats to comfort our souls.
Several menu items have been specially designed to nourish and appeal to people undergoing cancer care, with selections that include baked goods, sandwiches, salads, pizza, smoothies, tea and Peet’s specialty coffee. I had the good fortune to have a conversation with Rex, the man behind the food.
After discussing his menu at length and his newest creation, ricotta toast, I ordered the mini vegetable frittata. As I was enjoying the flavorful, light as a soufflé frittata, Rex came over with the ricotta toast for us to try. The mini bagels had a layer of blackberry jam, smeared with whipped ricotta and topped with sliced almonds and a drizzle of honey.
It was delicious and the inspiration for today’s blackberry breakfast bruschetta.
You can choose to whip the ricotta as Rex has done, which gives it a smoother texture. Also, I chose to use a rustic bread for the foundation, rather than a mini bagel. I believe the overall flavor profile is roughly the same. I did use a blackberry honey for a final drizzle, as I had just purchased a large jar at the California Honey Festival.
*A note about Ricotta – an Italian word that means ‘recooked’ and is made from the whey portion leftover from making mozzarella, which is reheated to bring the whey proteins together. Whey protein is easily absorbed and contains all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) that our bodies need. All dairy proteins are high quality, however whey proteins have been studied in sports nutrition including the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine. Whey protein has a high content of leucine, which is known to assist muscle regeneration.
- Rustic bread
- Blackberry jam
- Fresh blackberries
- Blackberry honey (or what you have on hand)
- Toasted sliced almonds
Toast or grill as many slices of bread needed, then spread on a layer of jam, followed by the ricotta. Simply scatter toasted sliced almonds on top (I arranged them). The final touch is a generous drizzle of your favorite honey. Mangia Bene!