Going back to our efforts to try to make this food blog more well-rounded in our offerings, this was another appetizer we selected at the same time as the stuffed cherry tomatoes, since that category is grossly under served here at FFA. Well, so is salads, but we swear we’ve got a couple in the lineup for Spring, so yay for greens. And the bacon that goes on them. But back to appetizers.
We decided you all needed some crostini. I’d only ever had crostini once before, and that was at a family get-together back in Pennsylvania. There’s an annual event there, where my dad’s from, and they call it The Pig Out. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Tons and tons and tons of extended family and food. And fun. And good times. Our one cousin has a great snorting laugh that never fails to set the entire room to laughing with her. One year, well, the last time I went with my immediate family, one of my cousin’s brought along a chef friend (everyone should have a chef friend), and that chef brought these wonderful, unassuming things called crostini.
It was one of those times that you wonder where something’s been all your life. I knew one day I’d make me some. Thank goodness we started this blog, because it was looking like I was going to make a liar out of myself, it’s been so long since that day. Isn’t it great how life works out? It all comes around eventually.
Did you know crostini is Italian for “little toasts”? It’s true, because wikipedia says so. So there. It’s funny because the recipe calls for an French baguette, but hey, no crust off our bread – it’s good stuff. We’ll take it.
Grate some delightfully salty and tangy pecorino romano cheese. I opted for a very fine, almost lacy grate here, but you could probably go a level up from that if you prefer. Keep in mind that the bread slices will be small, so you don’t want to grate too big. It’ll be harder to balance larger grated cheese on the t-tiny bread slices.
The cheese gets mixed with some finely minced garlic, freshly ground pepper, salt and olive oil. Fancy!
The pre-toasts get brushed with olive oil.
And then a modest sprinkling of the cheese and garlic mixture. We made two passes with the cheese, trying to make sure we had enough for all the bread on the first pass, rounding out with the second. And picking up as much as we could that had fallen onto the baking sheet. Must not waste this stuff! It’s too good.
Ready to be baked!
Ready to be eaten!
I can hear you a-thinking, But that doesn’t look toasted… We baked these the exact amount of time it said to on the recipe, and while they’re hardly a hint of golden brown, they were the perfect amount of toasted crunchiness, and still soft in the middle. I liked ’em. Sis liked ’em. Hubby liked ’em. Magnifique! Or, molto bene! If I make these again one day I probably would pass them very, very briefly under the broiler to give them a tad more color. Not too long, though, we don’t want ’em charred.
The garlic cheese mixture is divine. It’s such a simple combination of ingredients, but if you love cheese and garlic and bread, this is a very delightful appetizer, and very easy and quick to make. I seriously doubt you’ll have a single one left at the end of your party.We didn’t, and it wasn’t even technically a party.
Garlic and Cheese Crostini
from Gourmet Today cookbook via Epicurious
Prep Time: 12 minutes Cook Time: 6 to 8 minutes Level: easy Makes: 24
- 24 (1/3-inch-thick) baguette slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (preferably imported)
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Arrange bread slices in 1 layer on a large baking sheet. Using about 3 tablespoons oil, brush tops of the bread slices.
Stir together remaining tablespoon oil, cheese, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle each slice with about 1 teaspoon cheese mixture, mounding it slightly.
Bake until topping just starts to melt, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and kosher salt to taste. Serve warm.
We didn’t think these needed extra salt for garnishing, but if you think you might I suggest trying it on one or two pieces to see if you like the extra salt.
Remember to keep a close eye on the crostini if you run it under your broiler. I know ours tends to burn quickly.
If you can’t get pecorino romano cheese, a good substitute might be freshly grated Parmesan (aka Parmigiano Reggiano), possibly even Asiago, although I’ve never grated the latter.