I could tell you that I’m bringing these crostini with me to a New Year’s party this year, but alas, I can’t lie to you, good people, I just can’t. It’s not that these aren’t party-worthy (they are) or are difficult to make (they take minutes and are practically no-cook perfect cocktail snack), or don’t go with cocktails (they go perfectly with a nicely-chilled Manhattan or a glass of your finest bubbly). It’s just that our friends who are throwing this amazing New Year’s bash are, much to my chagrin, a piggy-free household. Personally, I think a little cured pork makes any party that much more delicious, but rules are rules.
Instead, I am showing up to the party armed with a hopefully-by-then-perfected lemoniest of the lemon bars (fingers crossed), some Russian tea cakes (there will be a bunch of Russians there, ergo), and hopefully a rye cracker of sorts (testing, testing, and some more testing). Let’s just say that in the past few days, I have bought eggs by several dozens, and let’s not even mention the pounds of flour and butter that this kitchen has gone through.
Throwing a cocktail party can be tricky: Not only do you have to decide on how many appetizers to make; but also how much food you will need per guest; hot food versus cold; just to name a few. Ina Garten, who knows a thing or two about catering a party, suggests six appetizers for your cocktails, three of which you cook and three of which you buy. In my book of party-planning, crostini strike a fantastic balance of the perfect party food to serve—it’s in between being cooked and purchased, plus I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love crostini.
Outside of toasting the bread, you’re hardly cooking, that is unless you decide to make your own ricotta (and points to you if you do*), but store-bought stuff will do fine in a pinch. Once your bread is ready, you spread some whipped ricotta (which you’ve doctored up with orange zest, salt, and freshly ground black pepper), add a bit of prosciutto, and top with a slice of the persimmon. All of which will take you about fifteen minutes, giving you more then enough time to make yourself a cocktail, put on your favorite party mix, and look every bit the part of a relaxed host(ess).
And if this omen is any indication, 2013 is going to knock it out of the park! I am ready!
P.S. Still wondering what to make for your New Year’s party in addition to the crostini below? Here are a few suggestions – I should probably update the page with more dishes.
* If you make ricotta from this recipe and want to use it for spreading on crostini, let it drain for about 1 to 2 hours, tops. Otherwise, if you drain it overnight (like I had to for these amazing meatballs, which by the way make another killer party snack), the ricotta will be very stiff.
Crostini with Whipped Ricotta, Persimmon and Prosciutto
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 slices from center of a large, crusty country-style bread loaf, cut into thirds
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
2 medium fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
3 slices prosciutto, cut into thirds
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, zest, salt, and pepper until combined and fluffy.
2. Heat the grill or broiler. Brush both sides of each bread slice with oil. Grill or broil the bread until slightly charred, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side.
3. Spread some of the ricotta onto toasted bread slices and place a piece of prosciutto over. Top with a slice of persimmon and finish with a pinch of black pepper. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 to 6 servings