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Even More Fanfare | Chocolate Fig Cake

Even More Fanfare | Chocolate Fig Cake

Chocolate Fig Cake | Delightful CrumbThis week, the market was overflowing with figs. It was an abundance I can’t recall seeing before—big crates packed with fat figs at multiple stalls, ripe and bursting, water balloon skins no longer able to hold in the jammy centers. My favorite fig purveyor let me assemble my own boxes, a pretty simple offer that put me over the moon. I walked away with Green Ischia figs so ripe they’re about to split and plump Brown Turkey figs, too, plus a separate box of little, uniform Black Mission figs for baking.

When figs are at their ripest and freshest, you can’t do better than eating them out of hand. I love them best with goat cheese and honey, perhaps with good bread alongside. A more elevated version of the same thing is to top toast with ricotta and sliced figs, drizzled with honey and/or olive oil; an easier one is to split the fig in half with your fingers and add a spoonful of Greek yogurt, which is what I did when I got home from the market yesterday. The figs right now literally taste like jam, and I know I’m a broken record, but I am just as excited about them as ever.

One thing I love about figs is their dual harvest. They come around long enough for me to get excited, then slip away. When they’re back, it’s with even more fanfare. The second season is longer and, quite literally, more fruitful. It’s basically opposite of the experience we have with ramps and sour cherries, which are painfully fleeting. And for the rare tangible moment of abundance in a world where I’m so often tempted to linger on scarcity instead, I am grateful.

While I will continue insisting that figs are best fresh, I’m still compelled by each pretty picture of a fig cake I encounter. I haven’t yet found my ideal everyday fig cake, so please let me know if you have one up your sleeve (criteria here). I made Melissa Clark’s Figgy Demerara Snacking Cake last weekend, which was fantastic but calls for two dozen figs and bakes up into huge 18×13-inch rectangle. I loved having cake to share with my neighbors but can’t always afford two dozen figs, notwithstanding all of this talk of abundance. But if you have an over-productive tree, pick up Cook This Now—and/or call me.

So this weekend, I moved along to another recipe I’ve had bookmarked for years, which requires just half that quantity of fruit. This is basically a decadent brownie topped with sliced figs, which break down in the heat of the oven, forming jammy pockets and getting sticky syrupy goodness all over the top of the cake. I served it with brandy-spiked whipped cream, a show-stopping finale to a delightful dinner with friends.

Chocolate Fig Cake | Delightful Crumb

Chocolate Fig Cake

Adapted very slightly from Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter off the Vine

This cake is basically a brownie topped with jammy pockets of baked figgy goodness, and it’s a delight. It’s also quite rich, so the whipped cream is a worthwhile accompaniment. Sweeten the cream only lightly, if at all, and flavor with brandy, bourbon or almond extract if you want to add some extra pizzazz. I baked this closer to 45 minutes, as I wanted the cake to be more or less cooked through. You could remove it much earlier if you want a more gooey dessert.

Makes one 8-inch cake, enough for 8 very reasonable servings

3/4 cup (95 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups (250 g) cane sugar

1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus more for the pan

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (85 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate

10-12 ounces (280-340 g) fresh figs, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, to serve (optional)

Whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter the bottom and the sides of an 8-inch springform or cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter that as well. Dust the pan and paper with flour.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter at medium-low speed, then add the eggs and vanilla. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat the mixture until it lightens in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the chopped chocolate.

Pour the batter into the pan, using an offset spatula to smooth the top. Arrange the sliced figs on top, covering the surface of the cake. It’s okay if they overlap a bit. Bake the cake until it is set but still slightly wiggly in the center, 35 to 45 minutes. You can remove the cake when it is less done if you want a gooey consistency, or bake until all but the very center is set.

Cool the cake and slice it into wedges, or spoon the warm cake into bowls. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and a dollop of whipped cream, if you like, just before serving.

Summer Ease | Watermelon & Feta Salad

Summer Ease | Watermelon & Feta Salad

Watermelon & Feta Salad | Delightful CrumbIt is summer, which means it’s time for another simple salad! This is basically how I cook from June through September—it’s hot, the produce is perfect and the evenings are long. Why spend the night cooking when you can assemble something equally delicious in minutes? Our trip to Paris in June didn’t help this inclination. Rather than coming home eager to replicate floating islands, croissants and picture-perfect tarts, I returned with a renewed enthusiasm for buying good baguettes and fancy cheese, which frankly constitute a proper enough meal alone, and all the more so with an easy salad alongside.

The watermelon-and-feta combination is classic and well loved by many, but it’s worth calling attention to it again nonetheless. I was reminded recently that not everyone is making this at home all summer long, as is my tendency. I did some Googling, wondering when it became a ubiquitous pairing well beyond the borders of Greece, and via this Serious Eats article, I ended up on Google Trends, where I found quite a fascinating picture of American interest in the combination. It began a steady climb in 2009, hitting its current and peak popularity in 2013 or so. I can’t recall when I first encountered it myself, or when it went from curiosity to summer staple—but here we are.

Last week, we were with family in Northern Michigan (photos below—look how lovely!), and as always, I was reminded how nice it is to have trusty combinations up my sleeve when I’m traveling, especially when I’m coming from far away but still want to contribute to the family feast. We were staying in a very cute little inn that lacked only in its kitchen provisions, but even without a big cutting board, sharp knife or measuring spoons, this was a breeze. It pleases most people and will pair wonderfully with whatever else is cooking on a hot summer day.

And if this is already a classic in your kitchen and you need some new inspiration, I outlined my favorite composed summer salads last year. Do you have a favorite I didn’t include? I’d love to hear it.

We’re home now, summer vacations behind us and plenty of mail and work stacked up, demanding my attention. Life is complex, even in summer, even on vacation, even when things are good. Ease so often feels out of reach for me, but this sort of cooking offers a small measure, and that is something. Maybe I’ll try my hand with îles flottantes this winter, but for now, you will find me piling my market bounty on a platter and serving it with a baguette for sopping up the juices. Simple pleasures, the glory of summer, a little bit of ease—I hope you’re finding it, too.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Shallot or red onion (optional)

One small or half of a medium watermelon, red or yellow

Good olive oil

Balsamic, white balsamic or white wine vinegar

Block of Feta cheese, preferably goat, sheep or a combination

Sprouts (sunflower pictured), mint and/or basil

Flaky sea salt

Cracked black pepper

If using the shallot or red onion, slice it thinly and place it in a bowl with a pour of neutral vinegar (white wine or white balsamic work well) and a big pinch of salt. Mix, then let the combination sit to mellow the onion’s bite while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Slice the watermelon into pieces about 3/4-inch thick, remove the rind and cut the slices into large chunks. If the kiddos will be eating it, too, cut the watermelon into cubes to make things simpler. Pile the watermelon on a big plate or platter.

Drizzle generously with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Crumble the cheese on top, and arrange the sprouts and/or herbs over that. Taste to check the flavors and saltiness, then adjust to taste and finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt and cracked black pepper.

Northern Michigan | Delightful CrumbNorthern Michigan | Delightful Crumb Northern Michigan | Delightful Crumb

Between The Two | The Go-To Frittata

Between The Two | The Go-To Frittata

Frittata | Delightful CrumbI come today with the most straightforward of recipes, for a moment in which things feel to me both immensely complicated and desperately simple. Politics, immigration and our nation’s ongoing inability to communicate across disagreement loom large. Yet it is summer, and for me, that conjures memories of simplicity at its finest: long days unfurling without obligation, family vacation, a sense of ease, produce that lends itself to the most minimal of preparation. Ben and I came home from vacation a little over a week ago, rested and lighthearted, to the first wave of mind-bending, heart-breaking news about our southern border. I need only to assemble my dinner with ingredients so gloriously perfect as the ones I picked up at the farmers market this morning, yet people are still going hungry and homeless on the route where I take my daily run. Today, I am healthy and whole, but that’s not the case for the friend who calls in need.

The truth is, it’s here that we live—between the two. Sometimes, we feel one more than the other: everything feels easy, or everything feels hard. Other times, the tension is what dominates. But ultimately, complexity and simplicity, struggle and ease, sorrow and joy—they are here with us, intertwined, all the time.

I’ve struggled to come to terms with this. There was a time when I thought that life would, or could, be easy. Then, when I realized my naiveté, I assumed that difficulties and sorrows would come and go, and I just had to get through those tough seasons to the light on the other side. But now I’ve come to see that life is all of it, mixed up together, and somehow we must leave space for lament and contentment to coexist.

So here’s my bid for embracing the good even when there is bad, for opening our hearts and homes even when the world seems hostile, for pulling family and friends ever closer despite the fact that loving means risking loss, for speaking kindness when criticism and sarcasm have made positivity seems passé. It’s okay to enjoy what we’re given in this life despite the brokenness around us. You can eat the first fig of summer with gusto and still show up at the rally. We don’t have to choose—and in the end, we can’t.

And so I offer one more thing to add to your repertoire of simplicity this summer. If you need an easy dish to set alongside slices of juicy summer fruit at brunch, or something filling to go with a piled-high tomato salad and a fresh loaf of bread at dinnertime, I suggest this frittata. After cycling through many different recipes, I’ve found my perfect frittata ratios, to which you can add whatever produce is in season or on hand. This spring, I used fava leaves and green garlic and spring onions. Now, in early summer, new potatoes and vibrant spinach can take center stage. Use what you have, and lean into whatever ease you may have this summer.

Frittata | Delightful Crumb

Go-To Frittata

Informed by recipes from Sara Forte in The Sprouted Kitchen and Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer in Golden

The first frittata recipe that I truly loved was Sara’s, from her first book, The Sprouted Kitchen. I found the ratios perfect and the filling (sweet potatoes, spinach, goat cheese) delicious. Later, I made the recipe for maakouda in Golden, the second cookbook from the owners of London’s glorious Honey & Co., and loved this, too, with its bright pop of flavor from capers and a hearty inclusion of herbs. I saw that the two held to similar ratios and realized I’d found my perfect frittata formula. Here’s my version. You can leave out the capers if they’re not to your taste, use red pepper flakes rather than Aleppo if that’s what you’ve got, add other spices, swap in different produce, use feta rather than goat cheese or skip the cheese altogether—the options are endless!

2 medium potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional for the potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion or 3 spring onions, sliced thinly
3 stalks green garlic or scallions, sliced thinly
Big handful spinach, fava leaves or zucchini flowers
8 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
Pinch of Aleppo pepper
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
Small bunch parsley, chopped
3 ounces goat cheese
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt, then cook the potatoes for about 5 minutes, until cooked through but not falling apart. Drain and allow to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron or other oven-safe pan. Over medium heat, cook the onions and scallions or green garlic with a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so. Place the greens or zucchini blossoms on top and allow them to wilt, about 1 minute. You can put the lid on the pan to encourage the process.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, milk, capers, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a pinch of Aleppo pepper flakes and a generous amount of black pepper. When the ingredients are well combined, with no streaks remaining, pour the mixture into the pan and turn the heat down to medium-low. Nudge the ingredients so that they’re nicely distributed as you allow the frittata to cook for a few minutes. Top with the crumbled goat cheese. Turn off the heat and transfer the pan to the oven to cook for about 15 minutes, until the top is nicely set.

Allow the frittata to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving, with hot sauce alongside for those so inclined. It is also delicious at room temperature.

Live the Questions | Rustic Rhubarb Tarts

Live the Questions | Rustic Rhubarb Tarts

Rustic Rhubarb Tarts | Delightful CrumbRecently, a friend and I were discussing a common theme in our lives, one that I return to again and again with friends these days—what’s next, and when? And how, exactly, do we answer those questions? My friend referenced a quote, something Krista Tippett had talked about on her podcast or in her book, though she couldn’t recall the source of the quote itself. The idea, though, stuck with her: when we don’t know what to do, it is enough to just sit with the questions, to hold them as we go on living our lives. And then one day, we’ll find we’ve arrived at the answers.

She texted me the next day with the full quotation from Rainer Maria Rilke, and I couldn’t believe how I’d missed in her delivery that these are words I know by heart. I wanted to see how far back I’d loved this passage and found it posted on my old, post-college blog in July of 2010. I remember, then, finding hope in this idea that my life might someday make sense, reminding myself to have patience. And the point is, to live everything. I’ve repeated this to myself often throughout the years.

But nearly 10 years on, in a different season, this sentiment coming at me through the back door as I sat drinking a glass of wine with a friend, it meant something entirely new. Since then, I’ve figured some things out, but today the stakes are higher and the questions bigger, weightier. I’ve analyzed and over-analyzed them; I’ve written notes; we’ve talked them to death and still they rise. I don’t have the answers. And I like answers. My heart sinks—what is it I’m doing, anyway?

Yet. What if we don’t search for answers but live the questions? I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but at the very least, it sounds like a relief.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign tongue. Don’t search for answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

And you know what? It’s true. If I really think hard about the questions I had at 23, it turns out that I have, indeed, lived into the answers. At that point, “everything unresolved” included, for example, the trajectory of my relationship with my brand new boyfriend, Ben, and how I might find my way to the next big career adventure I dreamed of, and my longing to experience life in another place. I have lived my way right into these answers—and beyond.

Likewise, these tarts. I baked them first in 2011, when I was over the moon about everything from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain. The diverse flours were new to me, whole grains weren’t yet mainstream and I wasn’t a confident baker. I made them for our dear friends Josh and Sara, which I was reminded of last week, when Sara and I were texting about recipes for rhubarb, a shared love—though she is lucky enough to have an abundance back in Michigan, while I’m desperately combing through shops and markets to get my hands on a couple pricey pounds here and there. This is, perhaps, why I so rarely go back to an old rhubarb recipe these days, always wanting to try something new with the few purchases I’ll make each spring. I hadn’t made these tarts for a long time, but I still love rhubarb, cornmeal, a good galette, any dessert you might call rustic. Some things are the same—but others are not. And so even a familiar dish is different a few years down the line.

I’m both young and lucky enough to have had only a handful of truly difficult seasons, but they’ve mostly taken place in the last six years. And when I ask what’s next? those experiences come flooding back. My monkey mind tells me that next time I leap, the same crises will follow. Yet the truth is, even if I am confronted with exactly those challenges again, it won’t be the same. Because I am not the same. Ben and I are not the same. Thank goodness for my twenties—but I don’t live there anymore. We can live the questions without fear of the old answers.

So here’s to rediscovering the same truths and the same recipes and the same challenges, over and over again—exactly the same, but not the same at all.

Rustic Rhubarb Tarts | Delightful Crumb

Rustic Rhubarb Tarts

Adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to The Grain

Makes 10 small tarts

I love the corn flour and cornmeal here. The corn flour allows for more of that lovely corn flavor without the graininess that would come with more cornmeal. The finished tarts are not too sweet, making them appropriate not only for dessert but also for breakfast or an afternoon bite. Alternately, add a little more sugar to the compote—up to 3 tablespoons, as noted in the recipe. (I dialed it back both for my preference for tart rhubarb desserts and because I scaled down the compote recipe but wanted to keep to easy measurements—15 tablespoons would be the correct equivalent from the original.) These are also delicious with ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

1 cup corn flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cane sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 egg yolks

1 batch Rhubarb Vanilla Compote (recipe follows)

To make the dough, place the dry ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixture, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, and stir to combine. Add the butter. Using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed to break up the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is as coarse as cornmeal. Add the heavy cream and egg yolks and mix to combine. The dough will be crumbly, but when squeezed between your fingers, it will come together easily. The dough is best shaped right after making it. If you’re not ready to assemble the tarts, refrigerate the dough, then bring to room temperature before shaping.

To shape the tarts, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Lightly flour your work surface. Start with one piece of dough. Using the heel of your hand, flatten it into a rough circle about 5 inches in diameter and of even thickness. Flatten the edges downward for an elegant finish.

Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the rhubarb compote into the center of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough up toward the compote to create a ruffled edge. This is a rustic tart, so it doesn’t need to be perfect!

Slide a bench scraper or metal spatula underneath the tart and transfer it to a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. Put the pan with the shaped tarts into the freezer to rest and harden for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 weeks if wrapped tightly in plastic.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Transfer the tarts to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the edges of the tarts are golden brown.

Serve the tarts warm or at room temperature. They can also be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept for 2 (or so) days. Ice cream or whipped cream make excellent accompaniments.

RHUBARB VANILLA COMPOTE

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb

3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (plus up to 3 tablespoons more if you’d like a sweeter compote/tart)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rinse the rhubarb stalks and trim the ends. Unless the stalks are very thin, slice them in half lengthwise. Cut them on a bias into about 3/4-inch pieces. Set aside 1 1/2 cups and put the rest (about 3 cups) into a medium-sized heavy pot.

Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the pot, stir, cover and place over medium-low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, covered, until the mixture is saucy.

Remove the cover and increase the heat slightly. Cook for 15 to 17 minutes, stirring often, until the rhubarb is completely broken down and thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining rhubarb to the pan. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat. Pour onto a large plate or baking sheet to cool. If you aren’t using the compote right away, put it into a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. If you have leftovers after making the tarts, enjoy with yogurt for breakfast.

Rustic Rhubarb Tarts | Delightful Crumb

On Time & Toast | Whipped Ricotta Toasts

On Time & Toast | Whipped Ricotta Toasts

Whipped Ricotta Toasts | Delightful CrumbThis year has been moving quickly over here in my corner, but I’ve struggled to put my finger on why. I often mark seasons with trips, visitors and big events, and I’ve had few of these so far. The weather has been strange, slipping into warm spring temperatures for a day or two, then back to clouds and rain. People with kids often say that time moves more quickly when there’s a growing little one who physically marks the passage of time. While I have no doubt that this is true, I’m beginning to suspect that our experience of time also begins to shift around the ages and life stages when many have children. I imagine it has something to do with being several years from school or academia, accustomed to the routines of work, used to the way the week ebbs and flows, weekends like a rising tide.

I can’t say I’m comfortable with this sensation. I want to catch time, wrap my hands around my life and stare at it, see it, just for a moment, keep it from slipping through my fingers. And yet. We all know this is impossible.

More possible, though, is leaning into the moments that we do have, celebrating and enjoying time rather than seeing it as something we’re losing. And that, my friends, leads us to dinner.

We all have to eat, but dinner can be stressful and far from a joy. At the end of a long day or week, it sometimes feels like just one more thing to do. As for me, I generally enjoy making dinner and certainly relish the act of eating it, but the very idea of cleaning up can be too much to bear if I’m feeling weary.

Enter toast.

It’s no secret that I love a good slab of toast—and more specifically, a good slab of ricotta toast. But can you really blame me? It’s the easiest hack I know for making a dinner feel special, whether it’s the appetizer for a festive gathering or the main event for a quiet weekend dinner that I want to make special without too much effort. This version is one of my simplest yet. The ricotta preparation comes from the “Go-To Recipes” section that opens Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons. It’s a brilliant book all around, and there are lots of secrets tucked into this early chapter, building blocks to have at hand for easy, beautiful meals.

The first time I made whipped ricotta, I topped the toasts with a mixture of thinly sliced snap peas combined with lots of herbs, lemon and pistachios. That was lovely (and a little something like this—which strangely, serendipitously, comes with musings from two years back that have much to do with what I’ve said above). But the ricotta is luxurious enough on its own that I thought it deserved to star, as it does in the following recipe, in an even simpler preparation. Here, I suggest just flaky salt, cracked pepper and chives or another soft herb. You could also add chopped toasted nuts, a thicker layer of herbs, thinly sliced radishes, ribbons of zucchini or cucumber, that fancy salt lingering in your cupboard or slices of ripe tomato as soon as they hit the markets. Ultimately, the ricotta is rich and flavorful enough that it’s best to use simple, light toppings—or none at all.

As for other uses for the whipped ricotta, the possibilities are endless. Swipe it on a large platter before topping with any sort of salad. It would be lovely with thinly sliced fennel and radishes, roasted carrots or sweet potato topped with toasted nuts and/or seeds, a tumble of tomatoes with basil, a simple leafy salad. Add a dollop to liven up a green, lentil or grain-based salad at lunchtime. Use it as a rich dip for raw vegetables and thin toasts. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding ways to use this up!

But most importantly, relish it. Take an extra minute as you assemble dinner to rest in the goodness of the nourishing food on your table and the loved ones with whom you eat. When you sit down at the table, savor a bite to remind yourself you’re here, in the midst of your life—which is meaningful whether it feels that way or not. We do well not to miss the simple glory of being alive.

Whipped Ricotta Toasts | Delightful Crumb

Whipped Ricotta Toasts

Ricotta recipe adapted from Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese (I like Bellwether Farms ricotta, which is conveniently packaged in this amount)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Zest of 1 lemon, optional

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional

Sourdough bread

Flaky sea salt

Chives (or another soft herb), minced, optional

First, make the ricotta. Put the ricotta, salt, about 20 twists of pepper and the lemon zest, if using, in a food processor. Start to process. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil. Pause to scrape down the sides of the food processor and to taste the mixture. You want the flavor of the olive oil to come through. Adjust to taste with more salt, pepper or olive oil, then process again. When the ricotta tastes delicious and is silky smooth, scrape it into a bowl and set aside.

Then, toast the bread. Cut slices about one inch thick; halve them if very large or if appropriate for how you’d like to serve the toasts. In a cast iron or other heavy skillet, warm a generous pour of olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the bread in the skillet until it is dark brown, a couple of minutes per side, working in batches if necessary. Place the toast on a baking sheet to cool slightly, layering it with a paper towel if there’s any excess oil. Sprinkle with salt.

When the bread is cool enough to handle, top each slice with a generous sweep of the whipped ricotta. Finish with flaky sea salt, plenty of freshly cracked pepper and chives.

Leftover ricotta can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.