tapenade. But if that baguette had been around for a day or two, we sliced it, drizzled with olive oil, topped it with a grind of sea salt, and toasted it before serving. Unwittingly, we were making spin-offs of the classic Italian crostini or bruschetta.
Sharing a platter filled with a variety of tasty and colorful crostini (or crackers) is always popular and the steps are simple: toast the bread, spread the toast with a goat cheese base (combining the goat cheese with cream cheese makes the goat cheese much easier to spread), and top with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Just use the recipes below to stimulate your own creative ideas.
FOR THE TOASTS
French baguette Quality olive oil Sea salt Preheat a stovetop, grill, or fry pan over medium heat. Cut the baguette on the diagonal into thin slices and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and place on the griddle. Toast until the bread begins to turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and toast the other side.
8 ounces goat cheese, room temperature 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 2 tablespoons quality olive oil Place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and using a handheld mixer, beat until smooth and creamy. Spread the cheese mix on the prepared crostini or refrigerate until ready to use. If chilled, remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using. It will be much easier to spread.
Caramelized Onions Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add 2 large onions, peeled, cut in half vertically, and sliced thin, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. SautŽ, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, sweet, and beginning to turn golden (usually about 60-75 minutes). Spread the crostini with the cheese base and top with the caramelized onions. Lightly drizzle with a balsamic reduction. Garlicky Mushroom Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add ½-pound cleaned and thinly sliced mushrooms, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. SautŽ, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their juices and are beginning to turn golden. Cool. Spread the crostini with the cheese base and top with mushrooms. Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.