I still remember my first neighborhood block party where the host asked us all to bring appetizers. I spent a few weeks – yes I’m quite the planner – going back and fourth on different ideas. I had to impress my neighbors as they all knew I was professionally trained and worked in Los Angeles for a celebrity chef. I decided on crostini’s with goat cheese, arugula pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and balsamic reduction. I didn’t have a large enough platter to serve them on so I settled on a beautiful wood cutting board, the same one I used to cut the crostinis on. No one knew the board was a last resort and I took credit for the “creative” idea. All this said, presentation really is everything so look around your kitchen, get creative, and take the credit!
Yield: 25 crostini
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1, 10-ounce baguette, preferably day-old, sliced 1/2-inch wide on sharp bias
olive oil, as needed
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. In a small bowl, add a few tablespoons of oil. Using a pastry brush, brush oil on both sides of each slice of bread. Refill the bowl with more oil as needed. On a baking tray, arrange bread in a single layer and place in preheated oven.
3. Bake the first side until lightly golden brown, approximately 6 minutes. Flip and cook the second side for an additional 4 minutes, or until also lightly golden in color.
4. Allow to cool uncovered at room temperature before serving.
5. To store: once room temperature, place in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Kitchen Note: Let the crostini act as a blank canvass from which to build. Consider spreading goat cheese on top with roasted cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic, or serve with soup, cheese, or even a freshly made dip, like artichoke, bean or even pumpkin hummus in the fall.