My son, Adam, and I created this recipe together. It is so easy to make yet it delivers complex layers of flavors. The smoked olive oil gives the creamy ricotta an earthy flavor and pairs perfectly with the sardines. The lemon brightens the entire dish and is a delightful complement to the overall umami profile. This tomato bread bursts with flavor. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making it over and over again.


* 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
* 2 tablespoons smoked olive oil, plus more to taste
* 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
* 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled
* 1-2 large, fresh ripe tomatoes, halved
* large loaf crusty bread, such as a French boule or baguette
* 3.735-ounce tin skinless, boneless sardines, packed in olive oil
* 2 tablespoons room temperature butter or olive oil to brush onto the bread
* One small bunch chives, chopped for garnish, optional
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices. Spread each side with butter or olive oil and grill or toast in the oven until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and juice to a food processor or high-powered blender. Turn the machine on low to medium and slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons smoked olive oil. Blend until the mixture has a silky texture. Add more smoked olive oil as needed.
  3. Pour mixture into a small bowl and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Rub the fresh garlic on to each side of the toasted bread.
  5. Generously rub each side of the toasted bread with the tomato. Be sure to get the tomato into every nook and cranny.
  6. Top tomato toast with the heaping tablespoon of the creamy ricotta-lemon mixture.
  7. Top each slice with 2 to 3 sardines. Sprinkle with additional Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and garnish with chopped chives, optional.


Use any leftover ricotta mixture to mix into mashed potatoes or stir into rice for a savory side dish. Top grilled chicken or fish with it and garnish with chives or another favorite herb.