Not a traditional Crostini, (meaning “little toasts” in Italian) but my version using a fresh baguette, lightly toasted in the oven, and piled high with robust Mediterranean flavours. Don’t stop at the toppings I’ve used, they are just what I had on hand, be creative and try, marinated artichokes, feta, smashed broadbeans with pecorino, marinated mushrooms, olives and oven roasted cherry tomatoes. If time is short, just visit your local Deli and buy what takes your fancy.
I love to serve these as a starter for lunch, and serve them on planks down the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves.
- Fresh baguette
- Basil or rocket pesto (store-bought is fine)
- Goats curd, feta or ricotta
- Serrano ham or prosciutto
- handful baby rocket leaves
- handful basil leaves, shredded
- 1 red capsicum, 1 yellow capsicum
- 2 green zucchini
- 1 small eggplant
- a few frozen green peas, blanched
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, blanched, thinly sliced
To roast the Capsicum
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Cut the capsicum in half and brush with a little olive oil. Place on a baking paper covered oven tray.
3. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the skin is charred and blistered.
4. Transfer the capsicum to a sealable plastic bag. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. The steam helps to lift the skin.
5. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin and discard. Don’t rinse the flesh – it ruins the flavour.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
To grill the eggplant and zucchini
1. Preheat grill-plate or BBQ to high.
2. Slice the eggplant into thin slices, if they are young and fresh they won’t need to be salted before cooking.
3. Slice the zucchini lengthways, into thin slices.
4. Brush with a little oil ( they are like a sponge) and grill for about 3 minutes, turn once and grill for another 2-3 minutes.
To make & assemble the Crostini
1. Slice the baguette in half horizontally, remove a little of the soft bread inside. Brush with olive oil.
2. Bake in a pre-heated 180C oven for 5 minutes. This just gives the bread a nice crunch without it becoming too crisp.
3. Butter the inside generously with pesto.
4. Now add all the vegetables, ham and goats curd.
5. Finish with baby rocket and shredded basil. Drizzle with a good flavoured olive oil.