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Ricotta Dip with Crushed Tomatoes and Bruschetta

Here is a fresh take on seasonal tomatoes: rather than the expected basil, this recipe calls on mint and chives for flavor, and the effect is a fresh one indeed! Leave it to the Brits to compliment the tomato, which is after all a fruit, with mint and a touch of sugar — so apt, and so delightful, a subtle twist on a time-honored combination that just WORKS. Give it a go!

Ricotta Dip with Crushed Tomatoes and Bruschetta

9 oz. ricotta (1 cup), homemade or purchased
7 oz. whipped cream cheese (½ cup)
12 mint leaves, chopped (1 tbs.) plus a few leaves to serve
small bunch chives, snipped (1 tbs.)
8 oz. ripe cherry tomatoes (a mixture of red and yellow is nice)
1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
1½ tbs. olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle
½ tsp. caster (superfine white) sugar

For the bruschetta

1 French baguette, thinly sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half

In a bowl, mash the ricotta, cream cheese, mint, chives, and some salt. When smooth, spread over a plate or wide, shallow bowl, creating a dip in the center to hold the tomatoes. Chill until ready to serve.

In another bowl, crush and rip up the tomatoes with your hands until they are in small chunks and really juicy. Strain through a sieve and discard the juice (freeze to use in another recipe). Add the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and a good pinch of salt. Mix together, then set aside.

Heat a grill pan until smoking hot. Brush the bread slices with olive oil and rub with the cut side of one of the garlic clove halves, then turn over and repeat with the remaining oil and the second garlic clove half. Place in the hot grill pan for 1-2 minutes on each side until nicely charred – you’ll have to do this in batches. (Alternatively, you may toast the slices all at once on a hot barbecue grill.)

Pile the squashed tomatoes on top of the ricotta spread. Drizzle with extra oil and scatter with the remaining mint. Offer the bruschetta alongside for dipping.

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