RECIPE: A fancy way to eat toast for dinner

Fancy Toast with Ricotta and Prosciutto
(CHRIS HUNT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
Fancy Toast with Ricotta and Prosciutto (CHRIS HUNT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

On days when I don’t feel like cooking and am too hungry to wait for a pizza delivery, I turn to a distant cousin of pizza: fancy toast.

Fancy toast is less about “fancy” ingredients and more about aesthetics. Simply top a thick slice of bread with just about anything in the fridge — cheese, avocado, leftover chicken salad — and take the time to embellish it with fresh herbs or flavored salt.

Need a little more inspiration? Take this ricotta and prosciutto toast recipe as an example. To liven up a tub of ricotta cheese, stir in the zest of a lemon and half of its juice, plus a good bit of salt and pepper. This gets smeared generously over a thick piece of sourdough bread that’s been drizzled with oil and toasted under the broiler. You can certainly use a toaster for this step, but if you’re feeding more than two people, the broiler will make it much quicker to prepare all of that bread.

Although toast with lemony ricotta is a pretty good dinner on its own, torn strips of prosciutto plus a smattering of chopped fresh tarragon really takes the toast into fancy territory. Slice it in half and serve with a quick mixed green salad if you’d like, or simply enjoy it on its own. Either way, you’ve got a deluxe dinner in less than 15 minutes.

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Fancy Toast with Ricotta and Prosciutto
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (1 ½-inch-thick) slices pain au levain, or other crusty sourdough bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • On the side: Mixed green salad
  • Heat broiler to high with a rack placed in the position nearest to the heating element
  • While the broiler heats, add the ricotta to a medium bowl. Zest the lemon into the ricotta. Slice the lemon in half and juice half of it into the ricotta. Stir well and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice if desired.
  • Place the bread on a sheet pan and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Broil until lightly charred on the edges, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • Top the bread generously with the ricotta (saving any remaining ricotta for another use). Lay pieces of prosciutto on top, then sprinkle with the tarragon. Drizzle with a little additional oil, slice in half, and serve with salad on the side. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 646 calories (percent of calories from fat, 32), 29 grams protein, 82 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 23 grams total fat (9 grams saturated), 70 milligrams cholesterol, 1,711 milligrams sodium.
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