So here is a little recipe (if you can even call it that), which I whip out at pretty much any and every opportunity. It's a real bang for buck number. I was taught this bad boy from a friend of mine, a very talented chef, who I met years ago and is now doing fabulous things in Sydney. He is a bright, energetic and foul mouthed scouse whose food has as much personality as he does. He has a whole philosophy about canapés and food for events that he explained to me once at the beginning of my career, and it has stuck with me ever since.
Canapés / nibbles / bites / antipasti whatever you want to call them - as food goes have a pretty rough time of it. Generally served in a party scenario they have so much to compete with - loud music, conversation, not to mention tastebuds that are taking a pounding from various alcoholic drinks in quick succession. To get noticed they have to pack a real punch, and trust me when I say these little bites really do. The trick here is to over season, not by crazy amounts, but a few notches past where you would normally dare venture. Trust me, it works.
David O'Brien's Pea, Mint & Ricotta Crostini
1 x small French stick
1 tub of ricotta cheese
Half bunch of fresh mint leaves
1 x cup of peas (defrosted frozen peas are fine)
Zest of 1 x lemon + juice
Salt & pepper
- Cut the French stick into 1 cm disks and lay on a baking tray, on top of baking parchment
- Brush with olive oil and season with sea salt (I use Maldon sea salt)
- Toast in a pre-heated moderate oven for approx 5-10 minutes until golden but not too crisp
- Finely chop the mint leaves and add to the ricotta in a bowl
- Gently bruise the peas so they are mashed but not mush
- Add peas to mint and ricotta mixture, along with the zest of the lemon and enough juice to taste and loosen
- Generously season and taste. Adjust seasoning / lemon juice as required
- Once the crostini slices are nicely golden remove from the oven and set aside to cool
- Add generous spoonfuls of the pea and ricotta mixture to the crostini and grate fresh parmesan over the top
I like to serve these on a wooden board and let people help themselves. Sadly, they never last long.