Saturday, October 22, 2011

A duo of crostini appetizers

For our Italian dinner last week we decided to make two different crostini as an appetizer.  These were both ideas that I had seen at some time in the last week or so, though unfortunately I do not really remember where, but I had thought they would be a good idea to try.

They were both incredibly easy and can be thrown in the oven just as your guest arrive after being prepared ahead and only take a matter of minutes to heat up.

For both crostini prepare the bread ahead, even a day if you that organized which sadly I never am.  Slice a baguette fairly thinly and lay on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for a couple of minutes until just turning golden brown.  Then turn over and cook again for a couple of more minutes to turn the other side golden brown.  This is not the time to take the garbage out or make a phone call as they can burn very quickly and really need to be watching,  I speak from experience here as I have burnt crostini more times than a care to remember.

Balsamic caramelized onion and Parmesan cheese crostini

For enough for 12 people

2 sweet onions (or regular if you can not get them) sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 spring of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Put the olive oil in a non stick pan add the onions and cook slowly for up to half an hour stirring occasionally until they start to turn golden brown.  (you could take the garbage out or phone a friend now) Add the fresh thyme and stir more often as they get darker as they can burn at this point.  When the onion is dark brown and has reduced down to about 1/4 its original size add the balsamic vinegar and stir in.  These are now ready to use and can sit around for several hours or longer in the fridge until you are ready to put them together.

About an hour before you are ready to cook them place a little onion on each crostini and top with a piece of shaved Parmesan, I used a potato peeler to to shave the Parmesan.

Bake these in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese has just melted.

Bocconcini, anchovy and tomato crostini

These are even easier to make, I used fresh cut plum tomatoes as a topping, but had I little more time I might have roasted these on a cookie sheet in a 300 oven until they were just starting to shrivel about 1/2 hour to concentrate the flavour.  But in fact they were fine as they were.

Plum tomatoes sliced (each tomato will make 4 or 5 crostini)
Fresh bocconcini (each ball will make 4 or 5 crostini)
1 can anchovies each fillet cut in half (1 can will make enough for 12 people)

On each crostini place a slice of bocconcini a slice of anchovy and a slice of tomato, sprinkle with a little salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper.

If you really have trouble with anchovy you could substitute capers, but really you should try these they were really good and they all disapeared like magic.

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