I’m in my thirties and still a little scared to have dinner parties. I love cooking. I love having family and friends over, but all the prep work and planning gets me stressed out just thinking about it.
For one thing, I somehow always decide to try a brand new recipe when people are coming over, rather than doing something tried and true. And then the appetizers—how do you find the perfect, easy start to your meal that can be prepped ahead and won’t take much time to get set up and ready? Well, I think I have my new favorite.
Ever since a trip to Spain a few years ago, my husband and I have fallen in love with olives, using them in as many ways as we can. The mix of salty, sweet and spicy with the olives, raisins, honey and cayenne is the perfect complement to the creamy ricotta.
I love that these little crostini are easy to put together. And they go well with just about anything you’re going to offer to drink. It’s a great way to show people a new way to use raisins—and olives—and to especially show off how well they work together.
Honeyed Almond, Raisin, Olive, and Ricotta Crostini
Makes 10-14 servings
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or even smaller pinch, depending on how much spice you like)
- 2 ½ cups mixed, pitted olives (I like a mix of herb marinated green, cured black, and Kalamata)
- ½ cup Marcona almonds
- ½ cup Sun-Maid golden raisins
- ½ cup Sun-Maid raisins
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 baguette or loaf of French bread, sliced into 10-14 pieces
- Mix the olive oil, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary, and cayenne together in a medium bowl.
- Roughly chop the olives and almonds. Stir the olives, almonds, and raisins into the honey mixture, cover, and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- To serve—toast the bread slices. Brush with 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil and toast for 5-7 minutes at 350° F. Spread about ¼ cup of ricotta cheese on each slice of bread and top with a spoonful of the olive and raisin mixture.
Brandi Evans is the cook and dishwasher over at BranAppetit. She likes to keep a good balance between healthy and tasty meals and homemade desserts and other treats, and loves using seasonal ingredients.