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Crostini

This image courtesy of David Loftus

I’ve always thought of crostini as small bruschette but this isn’t completely correct, as they are usually made with white bread instead of sourdough. I’m told that in the old days the bread would have been so stale that it would have to be soaked in a little stock or juice to make it chewy and edible again, but don’t worry. In this day and age you don’t have to do this. In Italy they simply grill a half-inch slice of ciabatta, rub it with a cut clove of garlic, drizzle it with oil, and season it with salt and pepper. Crostini are a great aperitivo with a drink, especially if you offer a few different toppings. Here are a few of my faves to get you into the spirit of things—each one will make enough to top 12 slices of crostini.

Cooking Methodgrilling

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehors d'oeuvre

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentgrill

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, crisp, crunchy, garlicky, herby, salty, savory, sharp, tangy, tart, umami

Type of Dishcanape/crostini

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Grill your slices of ciabatta. While they’re still hot, rub them gently with the cut side of the garlic and drizzle with good-quality extra virgin olive oil. Finish with your favourite toppings…

    Prosciutto, Figs, and Mint

  2. Get yourself 6 large, ripe figs, 12 slices of prosciutto, and a small bunch of fresh mint. Tear the figs in half, then drape a piece of prosciutto over each of your hot crostini and squash a piece of fig on top. Finish with mint leaves and serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil, a drop of balsamic vinegar, and some freshly ground black pepper.

    Greens

  3. Take 3 large handfuls of cavolo nero, cabbage, or Swiss chard and strip the leaves off the stalks. Add 3 cloves of peeled garlic to a pan of salted water and bring to a boil, then add the greens. Cook until tender, then drain well in a colander and allow to cool. Squeeze out any excess water from the greens, mush up the garlic, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss around and divide onto each of your hot crostini, drizzled with more olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

    Buffalo Mozzarella and Chili

  4. Tear 3 5-oz. balls of buffalo mozzarella into quarters, then top each of your hot crostini with one of the quarters. Deseed and finely chop a fresh red chili and sprinkle this over the mozzarella. Add a little seasoning and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Lovely with a little fresh basil torn over.

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