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Thursday, December 31, 2009

crostini appetizer-- a foolproof formula

i know the holiday party season is coming to a close, but i can't resist posting about an appetizer/party food idea. in my oh-so-humble opinion, crostini with goat cheese is one of the best creations of all time. for one, as our friend scott once astutely observed, "goat cheese, like william shatner, makes everything better." but the true genius of goat cheese crostini is its versatility-- it can be an appetizer, part of a lunch or dinner antipasti spread, it can punctuate grilled veggie salad, and it can easily be topped with just about anything you can find in your fridge, pantry, or garden.

for my recent crostini appetizer plate, i started with a gorgeous, seedy baguette from tall grass bakery at the ballard farmers market. sliced and toasted the bread, smeared goat cheese on top, and searched in the fridge for other toppings. i had one leftover roasted golden beet and a bag of salad greens, both from full circle farm. i sliced the beet, picked the arugula out of the bag of greens, drizzled with some thick balsamic vinegar, and had a plate of appetizers ready to go.

for crostini toasts:

slice baguette.
brush both sides of slices with olive oil, and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
toast in oven at 350 for about 5 minutes, or grill until toasted.
slather on plenty of softened goat cheese.

for toppings, anything goes! depending on what's in season, here are some ideas:

slices of roasted beet, apples, pears, peaches, melons, figs, roasted peppers, or artichoke hearts
dried fruits like cranberries, dates, or apricots
berries, cranberries, olives, cherry tomatoes, ground cherries, capers, or nuts
prosciutto, pancetta, or smoked fish
chutney, marmalade, jam, tapenade, relish, or pesto
fresh herbs or greens, such as dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, chives, arugula, fennel, or watercress
edible flowers, like nasturtium, pansy, or allium (oh man, this would be BEAUTIFUL!)

final touch:

good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, or finishing salt

i think the next one i'd like to try is fig and prosciutto with honey. when summer rolls back around, a halved cherry tomato with a dollop of pesto sounds spectacular. let me know your brilliant combination ideas!


  1. Oh yum! We do this too but I make all our bread so it's only when I have time to bake baguettes! Did you ever find a source for local goat's milk? St. John's Creamery milk makes great chevre and they have a buying club with a drop site near Phinney Ridge. If you google their website and email Marcia she can set you up.

  2. thanks annette! i had only gotten so far as to learn that kenmore milkshed was no longer an option. i'm near phinney ridge, so i'll totally look up st. john's-- sounds great!

  3. Just had a family party a couple weeks ago with several crostini offerings. We had:

    1) Carmelized onions topped with crumbled gorgonzola

    2) A spread of artichoke, lemon, garlic and olive oil that had been pureed together in a food processor

    3) fig jam topped with arugula and prosciutto (sp?) and melted fontina cheese on the top.

    Sooo good.

  4. those all sound SO GOOD, and not just because it's 4pm and i haven't had lunch yet! now i want to have a crostini potluck so i'll have an excuse to sample a dozen different kinds!

  5. Oooh! A crostini potluck! What a good idea!!!