Appetizers. Far from a food course, they are often what sets you apart as a superstar in the kitchen. Unfortunately, this need to create a spectacular first impression often drives otherwise sane people to attempt the most insane creations.
Remember my wannabe Food Network Chef, some of the best food on the planet is simple!
Crostini. Simplicity at its best.
Toast with stuff on it. Doesn’t everyone except the occasional unfortunate gluten free freakshow love toast? Few guests don’t flip when a platter full of crostini are carried through the room and you can almost guarantee that you will run out, no matter how well prepared you are. The really cool thing here is that the possibilities are truly only limited by your imagination.
Recipe? What recipe?
The most common choice for the base of a crostini is the baguette thanks to a rather convenient shape and the ability to cut it into fairly similar size pieces. These days, we have regular white baguettes, whole wheat, sour dough, multi grain, cinnamon raisin and who knows what other varieties.
The basics remain the same:
Cut across the bread to create rounds. Layer the rounds on a cookie sheet. Drizzle or brush them with oil. I like olive oil, but whatever is handy will work. Recently, we were given a spicy Cuban dipping oil. Once we bored of dipping, it was perfect for drizzling. Preheat the oven to 400ish and then slide your tray of bread slices into the oven. Keep an occasional eye on them. Do not start talking and forget about them! 2 glasses of wine later, your bread is a smoky waste. When they are toasty brown, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
The nice thing about crostini as an app is that you can toast the bread the day before. This makes prep a breeze while you are hanging with your peeps! Also, you are less likely to burn your toasts!
Now the fun part: Toppings
Way back in the archives, we made some funky peppered pork crostini but for this version we’re going to get simple. Stupidly simple.
Simple does not mean boring, as these are so full of flavor that your guests will rave about them. They’ll also have no idea that you used a store bought short cut. I’ve said this before, but President’s Choice makes some awesome products that make life so much simpler.
First off, cut a sweet onion in half. Then, cut half round sections. Sauté the onions in a bit of EVOO and butter until they are translucent and slightly browned. Don’t burn them because they will look like crap and your guests will notice. They might not say anything, but they’ll notice!
How many onions you make depends on how many guests you are feeding.
Open the PC Sundried Tomato Pesto and spread a small spoonful on each toast. Pile on a small amount of the sautéed onions and top with the cheese of your choice. We had a big brick of Silani Friulano which shaved off nicely and melts perfectly with the onions.
That’s it. So simple, yet your guests will be blown away. The PC pesto brings a big hit of tomatoey goodness that is sure to wow the peeps.
I’ve said it before, don’t be afraid to use some pre packaged basics. Sure you look like a hero when you tell people you made the pesto, but the reality is that this is so much easier when feeding a crowd.