Crostini means “little toasts” in Italian, or small, thin slices of toasted bread. They’re the anchor of the versatile appetizer we call bruschetta, providing the perfect vessels for crunchy, flavorful bites.
To prepare crostini: Cut 1 (10.5 ounce) French baguette loaf on a bias into ¾ inch-thick slices; brush both sides with 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Grill slices on medium-high 1½ minutes per side or until grill marks appear; rub top sides of bread slices with 1 garlic clove. Crostini can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Cool completely, then place in a large zip-tight plastic bag; seal bag, pressing out excess air. Store crostini at room temperature.
Slice 1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), 2 medium tomatoes and 1 small onion into 1-inch-thick slices; brush both sides with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Grill vegetables, covered, on medium-high 10 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
Chop vegetables into 1-inch pieces; toss with ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1½ teaspoons anchovy paste. Makes about 3 cups.
Top each crostini with about 2 heaping tablespoons eggplant mixture; evenly sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves and ¼ cup toasted pine nuts.
Grilled Tuna, Caper & Red Onion
Place 2 (8-ounce) tuna steaks and ½ cup olive oil in large zip-top plastic bag; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. (This helps keep the fish moist.)
Whisk together 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ¾ teaspoon pure honey and ¼ teaspoon salt; whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil until emulsified. Toss ¼ cup drained capers and 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion with all but 2 tablespoons lemon juice mixture.
Remove tuna from marinade; discard marinade. Brush both sides of tuna with remaining lemon juice mixture; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Grill tuna, covered, on high 6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145°, turning once halfway through cooking. Flake tuna with fork; toss with caper mixture. Makes about 3 cups.
Top each crostini with about 2 heaping tablespoons tuna mixture; evenly sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped chives.
Stir 1 ½ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; gradually stir in 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
Toss 2 cups quartered red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced shallot, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Makes about 2 cups.
Spread each crostini with about 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture; evenly top with tomato mixture and sprinkle with ¼ cup fresh basil leaves.
Black Bean, Arugula & Queso Fresco
Toss 1 (15-ounce) can drained and rinsed black beans, 4 cups loosely packed arugula, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Makes about 4 cups.
Top each crostini with about 3 tablespoons bean mixture; evenly sprinkle with 1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco or chèvre and ¼ cup toasted pepitas.
Grilled Asparagus, Red Pepper & Prosciutto
Toss 1 bunch asparagus (ends trimmed) with 2 tablespoons olive oil; grill asparagus, covered, on medium-high 8 minutes or just until tender, turning once halfway through cooking.
Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces; toss with 1 ¼ cups chopped, drained roasted red peppers, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Makes about 2 ¼ cups.
Top each crostini with about 2 tablespoons asparagus mixture; evenly top with ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese and 3 ounces shaved prosciutto.