Ricotta Toasts with Pomegranate Olive Relish
Last week was full of the most fortunate accidents.
Last Wednesday, while seeing a friend of mine perform at Carnegie Hall (casually), I ran into a different friend who I hadn’t seen in forever backstage – he was seeing a friend of HIS performing on the same concert. Crazy, right? Sometimes the music world is just the right amount of small.
Then on Halloween, I had dinner with two former teachers, one of whom was in town with the Philadelphia Orchestra. They were going to be playing Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, also at Carnegie, but they sold out before I was able to get a ticket. *Commence hysterical crying sequence* So, I went to the hall 40 minutes before the performance to test my luck.
While waiting on the cancellation line, I met the nicest concertgoer who had an extra balcony center ticket she was trying to sell. I don’t usually trust total strangers, but in the name of Mahler… Who KNOWS what atrocities I would commit in the name of MAHLER 😉 The concert was incredible, and I’m sure I cried for about 33% of it.. Ok, I cried the whole time. I miss that orchestra and everyone/everything in Philadelphia so much. It was a bittersweet (but mostly sweet) taste of my second home!
But even before all of this, the week of happy accidents kicked off on Sunday with a little brunch I put together for family at my apartment. You know those days when you have something REALLY specific in mind to cook, but then the grocery store doesn’t have every single EXACT ingredient you plan to use? No? First world problems? I’ll stop talking.
…No I won’t, that’ll never happen. The plan was to make crostini with a crusty whole grain bread and then this here relish. My grocery store didn’t have any kind of fresh baguette that was made with whole grain flour. So, I settled for a whole grain bagel. This was, weirdly enough, the best decision I could have made. I cut the bagel into very thin rounds, tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and baked them (until they were ALMOST burnt – this was a less fortunate accident). Homemade crunchy bagel chips? IS THIS REAL LIFE?!
The rest of the recipe went exactly as planned. Sweet and tart pomegranate arils, briny chopped olives, thyme, and citrus all mixed together and left to sit overnight, and then sprinkled over the bagel chips which had been generously schmeared with ricotta. Oh, and then I drizzled honey on top of alllll of it because I have zero self control. You drooling yet? If you’re not, I’m worried.
Not only are these toasts like a holiday in your mouth, they LOOK like something you should be serving for the late fall and early winter holidays! Between all the deep reds, greens, and earth tones, all you need is a crackling fire and some hot cider and you’re good to go. I felt a little guilty for sneaking some summer ingredients into the relish, but they worked! I’m not trying to hold onto summer or anything, but not everything has to be cold all the time in the fall and winter. I’m all for seasonal ingredients, but sometimes in the winter, you just need to “wake up” a little.
Plus, these ARE perfect for entertaining! Super easy to put together, minimal cooking required, and taste fancier than they actually are. Make them for your family, friends, and neighbors at your next holiday. They will definitely be back. Make them for your book club – instead of discussing the latest chapters in The Fault in Our Fifty Shades of Twilight, you may end up spending the whole time convincing your winedrunk friends that no, these are not in fact that hard to make. Impressive, delicious, and low maintenance. Just how entertaining should be!
My one word of advice: whoever you do make these for, make more than you think you’ll need – it’s pretty much impossible to stop at just one.
- 2 whole grain bagels, sliced into rounds
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1.5 cups pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 tsp. grapefruit zest
- 1 tbs. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- Combine all relish ingredients into a mixing bowl. Let sit for at least 4 hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 325˚F.
- Slice bagels into rounds - the slices don't have to be the same shape, but should maintain even thickness.
- Toss bagel slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Arrange on a baking sheet. After about 5-7 minutes, check to see if the first side of the bagel slices are browned and crispy. If so, flip them and return to oven. Watch frequently to prevent burning!
- Once both sides are crispy, remove from oven and let cool.
- Spread ricotta on each toast, then top with about 1 teaspoon of relish.
- Once all toasts are assembled, drizzle them with honey and serve.