Smoked Salmon and Lemon Dill Ricotta Crostini

Appetizer | December 22, 2016 | By

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Smoked Salmon and Lemon Dill Ricotta on Crostini

I’ve been on a bit of an appetizer kick lately. Normally, I’m the type of person who would just rather eat a whole sandwich than dawdle around with tiny bites of food but I kind of got into it after experimenting with a few recipes this holiday season. It turns out that appetizers can be pretty enjoyable to make (and to eat, of course). Creating food using only a few ingredients can be a challenge in itself. It’s fun to see how much flavor you can pack into a few bites. What better example of a simple ingredient that packs a lot of flavor than smoked salmon? Smoked salmon in pretty incredible – it’s smooth, salty, and smoky. It’s kind of like a lightened up version of bacon. Pair it with classic flavors like lemon and dill and you’ve got a super simple tasty treat for your party guests.

crostini on baking sheet

The first step is to make the crostini. Apparently the word crostini means ‘little crusts’ in Italian. Crostini are great because they’re sort of a blank canvas for flavor. You can top them with just about anything – cheese, meats, vegetables, dips, spreads, marinated goodies like olives or artichokes. The list goes on and on. They’re basically little flavor vehicles. Heat the oven to 400 degrees, cut a baguette into slices and spread the slices on a baking sheet, and then drizzle a little olive oil on each slice. Pop the pan in the oven for 6 minutes and remove.

crostini rubbed with garlic halves

This is one of my favorite little tricks. Cut a few pieces of garlic in half and then rub the garlic on the crostini as soon as you remove them from the oven. Rubbing the warm bread will release the oils in the garlic and give them a nice pop of garlicky flavor. Wear an oven mitt to hold the bread in place as you’re rubbing it with the garlic. This will protect your fingers from burning on that hot bread.

lemon and dill ricotta spread

Now for the ricotta spread. I am a huge fan of dips, sauces, spreads, and gravies. Dry food is just no good. Ricotta is perfect for spreads – it’s another ‘blank canvas’ kind of ingredient. Ricotta itself doesn’t have much flavor but is easily manipulated by whatever you add to it. I went classic with this one – lemon and dill. Just add 1 cup of ricotta cheese to a small bowl and add the zest of 2 lemons, 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. of minced fresh dill, and a little salt and pepper. Mix these ingredients together and set aside.

pieces of smoked salmon

The next step is to cut the salmon into bite size pieces. Smoked salmon is pretty easy to find this time of year. It seems like grocery stores consider this a specialty item and keep it in stock over the holidays. You can use 1-2 packages depending on how much crostini you are preparing. Just separate the pieces of salmon and cut them into small strips. Make them roughly the same size as the crostini. I have two cats and I would just like to say for the record that photographing smoked salmon with two cats running around is nearly impossible. These little beggars meowed and circled. I tried to lock them in the basement and they outsmarted me. I tried to swat them away and damn near lost a finger. Moral of the story? There is none – cats just really love smoked salmon.

Smoked Salmon and Lemon Dill Ricotta on Crostini

All that’s left is to assemble. Spread a healthy spoonful of the lemon dill ricotta mixture onto each slice of bread and then top with a piece of the sliced salmon. You can garnish the whole thing with a dill sprig if you want to make it pretty. Feel free to squeeze more lemon juice on top if you really want to drive the lemon flavor home. That’s all there is to it. You can serve them immediately. Do it quick before your cats get to them.

Smoked Salmon and Lemon Dill Ricotta Crostini
Serves 20
A light and simple holiday crostini appetizer that's topped with flavorful smoked salmon and a refreshing lemon dill ricotta spread.
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Prep Time
6 min
Cook Time
6 min
Total Time
12 min
Prep Time
6 min
Cook Time
6 min
Total Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-2 packages smoked salmon
  2. 1 baguette
  3. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  4. 2 clove garlic - cut in half
For the spread
  1. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  2. Zest of 2 lemons
  3. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  4. 3 Tbsp. fresh dill plus more for garnishing
  5. Salt and pepper - to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut a baguette into small slices and arrange on baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto each piece and place pan in oven. Bake for 6 minutes.
  4. Cut a clove of garlic in half.
  5. Remove pan from oven and rub each piece of warm bread with garlic half.
For the spread
  1. Mix ricotta cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced dill, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until combined.
  2. Cut salmon into bite size pieces.
  3. Spread a spoonful of ricotta mixture onto each slice of bread and top with salmon slice.
  4. Garnish with dill sprigs and extra lemon juice if desired.
The Rustic Foodie http://www.therusticfoodie.com/

 

  1. Klauss
    December 27, 2016

    Lovely appetizer, and drip drop olive oil on top ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Christine
      December 29, 2016

      Thank you, Klauss! I’ll give that a try next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Christine
      December 29, 2016

      If you live near an Aldi, you should be able to find it there. I live in a tiny town as well, but am able to find tons of stuff at Aldi!

  2. Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    December 28, 2016

    So very yummy. I love all the ingredients. I can’t wait to make it!

    • Christine
      December 29, 2016

      Thank you, Elaine. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Kortney
    December 30, 2016

    Love the little hint of garlic that you have on the bread! Perfect app for NYE!

    • Christine
      January 1, 2017

      Thanks, Kortney! That’s one of my favorite little cooking tricks. ๐Ÿ™‚