Have you heard about hot honey yet?
This sweet and spicy condiment has been sweeping upscale pizza joints and yuppie kitchens across the nation. I had my first taste of it at Pizza Shed, where they drizzle it generously over their pepperoni. Delicious!
I wasn't especially moved to make hot honey myself, but then the Cape storm happened. Not only did the inclement weather claim several Bedouin tents at the Oranjezicht Farmer's Market (thus stalling my weekly produce shop), but it also meant that we were to subsist on what I could scavenge from the brand-new pantry. Here's what we had: honey, some bread, and a tub of leftover ricotta from ravioli night.
Honey would have done well enough, but then I remembered the hot honey from Pizza Shed and I was inspired. What started as a snack born of necessity turned into a truly delightful meal that I have made for myself every day this week.
With this recipe in hand, you too can enjoy ricotta and hot honey toast as a snack. It also makes a lovely entrée for dinner parties, with the added bonus of being dead easy to whip up. An excellent choice for home chefs who like to appear accomplished.
What you'll need from the shops (or the pantry):
Note: Many of the ingredients pictured in this recipe were not my first choice, but my options were limited (catastrophic storm, etc., etc.). I would recommend using the ingredients listed in writing instead! But, rest assured, it all tastes wonderful.
Lemon and green chilies worked just fine, but I prefer lime and red bird's eye. It's up to you!
Ciabatta or similar for toast
Lime (first prize) or a lemon (also good)
Honey (local is lekker)
Red bird's eye chilies or similar (omit if your spice tolerance is low)
Red chili flakes
A smear of butter
Kitchen update: after seeing a foodie friend use a small John Bauer bowl as a salt pot, I had to do the same. I love his ceramics — they are all over our house! When I choose things for the house, I always think of William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." It's a lovely thing when they are both.
How to make ricotta and hot honey toast
Step One: Prep your kak
First, cut your slices of bread and pop them in the toaster. Don't put the toaster on, just set the scene. Snack on a morsel of fresh, untoasted bread.
Then, slice as many chilies as you have slices of bread into delicate, thin rounds. Next, zest your lime. Put both aside.
Okay, you're basically ready for the main event.
Step Two: Heat your hot honey
Plop about a tablespoon per person of honey into a small saucepan and put it on the lowest heat possible. The honey will warm and liquefy very quickly, so keep a close eye to prevent boiling.
Once it has spread out across the bottom of the saucepan, chuck in your fresh chilies or your chili flakes if fresh is not your thing. Turn off the heat and let the honey and the chilies meld together for a few minutes. Trust me, it makes a difference!
Step Three: Ready the toast
While that's going on, toast your bread. If you're making this as an entrée for lots of people, I would recommend doing the toast under the oven grill at about 200 degrees Celcius. Just butter it beforehand on either side and turn at about seven minutes. Keep an eye on any signs of burning.
Step Four: Drizzle the hot honey
Once the toast is up, butter it and lovingly place your ricotta on top. If you have the spreadable kind, you can make an intriguing scale pattern by pressing the flat blade of a butter knife into the sides of the ricotta spread repeatedly. Sprinkle with lime zest, flaky salt, and, if you're feeling festive, some smoked chili flakes.
Finally, the main event — generously drizzle your hot honey over the entire, glorious affair. Eat an enjoy.