3×3: Crostini

Three versions of a great appetizer, crostini. The baguette is lightly toasted and topped with various delicious items.


3×3: Crostini

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This week I’m posting a series that I call 3×3: Three posts each with three simple, but related recipes. Yesterday’s post was on summer cocktails and tomorrow’s post will be on salad dressings!

Crostini is one of those things that kind of baffles me because of how infrequently it’s served and how delicious and simple it is to make.

I guess crostini can sound like something difficult (especially when I italicize it), but stuff on toast just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Trust me though, you could make all three of the recipes in this post in minutes and have a dozen very pleased guests.

Let’s talk bread

Bread is the most important part of any crostini. If you’re topping it with gold-plated caviar, the bread is still the most important part. The key to a good toast is that you don’t want it doughy, but you don’t want it to resemble a cracker either. So basically, toast it. But don’t over-toast it.

Start with a good baguette, the best you can find (or make your own baguette if you want to turn a 20 minute recipe into a 20 hour recipe). Slice it into 1/3 inch slices on a diagonal just to maximize surface area. Brush the toasts with a light coating of olive oil or melted butter and either A) Grill them for a few seconds on each side or B) Toast them for a few minutes in a 450 degree oven.

Toasting the bread.

I used this method to make all of the toasts in this post. Just remember to check on them frequently. If they’re completely dried out, you might be better off slicing some new toasts and using those for bread crumbs!

Onto the crostini!

South of the Border Crostini

Betsy thought I was crazy for wanting to put guacamole on a crostini. After all, there are perfectly good chips right over there in the pantry! But it completely worked. This is just another example of my ongoing proof that guacamole is good on anything.

Simple Guacamole
Makes enough for 16 crostini.

– 2 avocados, mushed
– 1/2 lime, juiced
– 1 Tablespoon sour cream
– Salt and pepper

– Red onion, diced (for garnish)
– Cilantro (garnish)
– Red pepper flakes (garnish)

This is about as simple as guacamole can get. Instead of combining all of the ingredients in the guac though, I decided to do a bit of deconstruction action and use some classic guacamole ingredients as garnish.

For the guacamole, just mush the avocados up (tips on seeding avocados) and add them to a bowl with the lime juice and sour cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste, and adjust.

simple guac
Basic guacamole.

Then, once your toasts are ready, pile on the guacamole and dot with all the garnishes. Very delicious and it looks pretty!

guacamole crostini
I could eat my weight in these.

The Summer Salsa Crostini

Kind of continuing with the salsa theme, I made a nice summer salsa with a nectarine and tomato base.

Summer Salsa (Adapted from the August 2010 Bon Appétit.
Makes enough for 14-16 crostini.

2 nectarines, seeded, diced
– 1 large ripe tomato (I used a yellow heirloom which was delicious)
– 6 big basil leaves, minced
– 1 Serrano pepper, diced
– 1 shallot, minced
– Drizzle of olive oil
– Salt and pepper

– Goat cheese (garnish)

nectarine stuff
Not your normal salsa...

For this recipe, I cut everything by hand just to give it a more rustic texture. I guess you could pulse everything in a food processor, but just be careful not to over-process it or you’ll have more of a soup than a salsa.

I didn’t even bother peeling the nectarines – just chopped up everything and tossed it in a bowl. By the way, this salsa is better on day two and is very good even with tortilla chips.

mixed up
Made by hand.

For the crostini though, just pile it high on the toasts and dot each one with some crumbled goat cheese.

Hard to beat.

Goat cheese just because.

Minted Pea Crostini

Two flavors that go incredibly well together are peas and mint. Three flavors that go incredibly well together are peas, mint, and goat cheese. So why not slap that on a piece of toast and call it good?!

Minted Peas.
Makes 16 crostini.

– 1 1/2 Cups fresh or frozen peas
– 2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
– 4 ounces goat cheese
– Pinch of salt
– Drizzle of olive oil

I used fresh peas for this but I’m pretty sure you could use frozen and not lose too much. If you’re using fresh peas you should boil them in lightly salted water until they’re tender, about 4 minutes. Frozen peas you obviously just need to thaw. I think that the fresh peas might end up with a slightly better texture, but I didn’t try the frozen peas so I can’t confirm that crazy theory of mine.

peas cooked
Boiled and drained.

Mush the peas with the chopped mint and goat cheese in a medium bowl. It’ll be a pretty thick paste and so I drizzled in a bit of olive oil just to make it more spreadable. I recommend you do the same.

Also, a pinch of salt helps.

peas mushed
A little texture is good.

Then pile it high and deep! The topping keeps for a long time in the fridge so feel free to make many batches.

pea crostini
Simple stuff.

My personal favorite out of these three was probably the guacamole one just because guacamole is one of my favorite things in the world. All of them though were very tasty and I easily housed plates of them all.

Which one is your favorite?

8 Responses to “3×3: Crostini” Leave a comment

  1. I love this blog so much. Every recipe is delicious, inventive, and totally manageable. You get major props for being one of the food blogs that I not only regularly read, but regularly try (and love!) recipes from. I think you’ve accomplished exactly everything you say you’re striving for in your “about Macheesmo” post. Thanks for the constant motivation to keep cooking. Can’t wait to try these soon!

  2. I made the Summer Salsa ones yesterday to serve as starters with the coctails at b-day party – and it was a win! Everyone loved them – and they also look so attractive with the summer colors! =) I used 1 nectarine and 1 peach though to change it up a bit

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