David and I don’t go out for dinner very often. We reason that we eat better and cheaper at the restaurant we call home. It’s mostly a good plan, except sometimes you just need to get out of the house. If you’re lucky, you find a place as good as your own.
A few weeks ago we found just that place. Looking for a quick bite before the Peter Frampton concert at Musikfest, we stumbled upon Molinari’s in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Their dinner menu was appealing and generous, but they have a spuntini section with noshes like rosemary-flavored Marcona almonds and an olive mix laced with fennel pollen and orange. Even if we’re not up for a full dinner, we still like popping in for a pre- or post movie drink and nibble.
Our favorite of their Italian snacks is their crostini. They’re three bucks each and toppings change daily. The first time there we enjoyed mushroom toasts with porcini mustard, ricotta, and almonds. The next time it was the fig crostini I have replicated here.
As you can see the presentation is gorgeous. I love the half slice of bacon they prop up on the toast. But before I eat it I love spreading the ricotta, crumbling the bacon, and smashing the figs so I get a little of each goodie in every bite.
I served these with drinks to Sharon her first night home. Big hit. With the bacon, ricotta, fruit, and toast, they’d make a simple, yet memorable breakfast too.
I’m sure glad I found my home-away-from-home restaurant. In fact, we’re headed there tonight.
Fig Crostini with Ricotta and Bacon
Serves 4 to 8
If you don’t feel like firing up the grill, simple broil the bread and figs.
4 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
8 figs, halved
8 slices bread from a chewy European-style loaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper toweling and set aside.
Simmer vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced by half, just a couple of minutes; set aside
Heat gas grill igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes or build a hot charcoal fire. Lightly brush figs and bread with oil. Place figs, cut side down, and bread on hot rack and grill, turning bread once and leaving figs in place, until impressive grill marks form.
Top each toast with 2 tablespoons ricotta and 2 fig halves, sticking bacon in ricotta to hold it in place. Drizzle with a little of the reduced balsamic and serve.