To be perfectly clear: Having too many strawberries to eat is hardly a problem. But during this season of berry abundance, inventive ways to incorporate the sweet, sun-kissed strawberry into our meals is always welcome. And I’m not just talking smoothies and desserts. Strawberries are delicious in savory preparations, too, where their sweetness and gentle acidity contribute to light dishes such as salads, sauces, toasts and cheese plates.
This bruschetta recipe showcases the best of the strawberry, piled on toasted bread with a few of its favorite savory ingredients. A creamy, lemon-flecked ricotta cheese anchors peppery arugula to the bread, while a tangy, inky balsamic syrup dresses the berries.
Balsamic syrup is easy to make. It’s a simple reduction of balsamic vinegar with a little sugar, spiked with lemon juice and black pepper for extra zing. When making the syrup, save your pricey balsamic vinegar for another use. A modestly priced supermarket version will do the trick. However, don’t skimp on the ricotta in this bruschetta recipe. Choose a high-quality, fresh ricotta for best results. It should be creamy, sweet and slightly tangy — not grainy or soupy. A mild, fresh goat cheese is an equally delicious alternative to the ricotta.
Strawberry Ricotta Bruschetta
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 slices levain or country-style bread, about 1/2-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh ricotta or soft, fresh goat cheese, room temperature
Finely grated lemon zest
1 cup arugula leaves, washed and