Black Cherry & Basil Ricotta Toast

Basil-marinated cherries on vanilla ricotta toast? I’ll brunch to that!

If you’ve read this space for very long you’ll know I’m the opposite of a Type A home cook. I try to measure ingredients when recipe testing but most of my best creations result from “a little of this” measuring and a “you do you” outlook (especially when it comes to amounts of cheese… and hot sauce). And this, my friends, is why I am not a baker.

Sometimes these experiments are good and sometimes they are…not. But every once in awhile I stumble onto something awesome that becomes a staple. And one of those creations is basil-marinated cherries.

I recently came home from the store with a two pound bag of cherries that I threw in the cart on a whim. While I consider myself a master meal planner and have perfected the art of the weekly grocery store trip, I leave a little “white space” on my list for fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables that catch my eye. April, May and the beginning of June is cherry season here in the Bay Area and because they are a fickle fruit that is hard to farm, I take advantage of them when they are in their prime.

After realizing that my very ripe cherries would quickly make it to the compost bin if I didn’t do something with them, I decided to run a little experiment. I was recently explaining the virtues of a classic strawberry shortcake to the Italian husband (who had no idea what I was trying to explain as he didn’t grow up eating it at cookouts in Middle America) and wondered if the same topping of sliced strawberries with a bit of sugar could be done with cherries. The answer is yes, it can, and it’s delicious. And why stop at just cherries when you can also toss in a bit of basil? And why stop at plain ricotta toast when it can be vanilla ricotta toast?

Suffice to say, it was a hit. Never underestimate the flavor power of ingredients that are in season and allowed to show off their stuff when paired with simple staples like ricotta and toast. These basil-marinated cherries have topped my breakfast almost every day this week and I have a feeling they will work their way into another recipe before cherry season is done. So take advantage of this short seasonal cherry bounty in a fresh and fun new way!


Black Cherry & Basil Ricotta Toast

Basil-marinated black cherries on vanilla ricotta toast.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2-4 servings


Basil Marinated Cherries

  • 1-2 lb cherries
  • 1/2-1 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup sugar

Vanilla Ricotta Toast

  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6-8 slices whole grain bread


Basil Marinated Cherries

  1. Cut cherries in half, removing seed, and place in large jar or medium bowl.
  2. Add sugar and basil, tossing to coat.
  3. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator at least overnight. Sugar will allow cherries to release juice.

Vanilla Ricotta Toast

  1. In food processor or small bowl, stir/whip together vanilla and ricotta cheese.
  2. Toast bread, if desired, and smear ricotta on toast.
  3. Top with marinated cherries and sprinkle of basil.
  4. Optional, but recommended: Reduce cherry sauce to a syrup consistency by placing juice in a small saucepan over low heat for 5-7 minutes. When juice thickens, drizzle over toast and enjoy!

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