Plain bread is delicious, but for wowing a crowd I love jazzed up bruschetta. Although this Italian appetizer is often grilled, I find that simply broiling the bread makes a perfectly crispy base. Here, I prepare it with three different toppings that are sure to please.
For the candied tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the thyme, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast until the tomatoes are juicy and slightly charred around the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the tomatoes to a plate and let cool until ready to use. Set the sheet pan aside (leave the foil on).
Meanwhile, for the broccoli rabe: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the broccoli rabe. Cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the broccoli rabe with a spider or slotted spoon, leaving the water in the pot.
While the broccoli cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the pepper flakes and garlic. Place the broccoli rabe directly into the skillet. Add the honey, season with salt and pepper, and cook until heated through and the flavors are combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a bowl and let cool until ready to use.
For the mint and peas: Drop the shucked peas into the pot of boiling water the broccoli rabe cooked in. Boil the peas until they are tender and bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and place immediately into a large bowl filled halfway with ice water. Once cool, drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Smash the peas with a fork. Stir in the mint and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use.
For the garlic toast: Turn the oven to broil. Place the sliced baguette on the reserved sheet pan. Drizzle one side of the slices with oil and broil until golden, about 30 seconds. Remove from oven and rub each slice of toast with garlic. Season with salt.
For the zesty ricotta: Combine the ricotta and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Add a third of the lemon-ricotta mixture to the mint-pea mixture and stir until combined.
Spread two-thirds of the toast slices with the zesty ricotta. Top half of the ricotta toast slices with candied tomatoes and the other half of the slices with broccoli rabe. Sprinkle the broccoli rabe with pecorino. Spread the mint and pea mixture on the remaining toast slices.
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