Golden toasty bread with ample toppings is a party I want to go to every single time. Crostini is really just toast, but with all sorts of good stuff piled high on top. Cheese is a must, meat is optional, and of course add a few really good store-bought goodies because even Ina says that you can take that short-cut when you’re entertaining.
The idea is simple: you put out all of the toppings and a couple of baskets of toasted baguette, and let your guests go to town. If you add a little protein it’s a full meal, or you could set it out as a fun appetizer. The point is–every bite is different and every person can make it their own.
Start with toasted bread. Bonus points if you grill it!
Cut a baguette into 1/2 inch slices and brush each side with olive oil, then toast in the oven (or on the grill) until golden brown.
That’s the base. Now for the good stuff!
Classic bruschetta toppings like chopped tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and fresh mozzarella with basil from the garden are heavy lifters in the crostini world. My favorite, however, is tangy goat cheese that I kicked up with fresh parsley on the outside and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top.
A couple of really great store-bought ingredients will make your life easier and are delicious to boot. I found a couple of toppings at my local market: artichokes in olive oil with truffle, and a roasted red pepper spread that was divine. To finish it off, simple parmesan cheese with good olive oil, salt, and pepper is great to drizzle over whatever crostini masterpiece your guests have dreamed up.
Crostini bar! A fun, simple party that gets guests involved in the food preparation while providing everyone exactly what they want. Give it a try this weekend! I’d love to know what you put out on your table.
Crostini Bar Party
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- Fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 8 ounce log of goat cheese
- Store-bought tapenades or spreads
- Charcuterie (prosciutto, salami, etc…)
- Grated Parmesan and good olive oil
- Tomato bruschetta toppings (3 chopped plum tomatoes, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper)
Here’s what to do:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush each side of the bread with olive oil, and toast until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly and arrange in a basket for serving.
- Chop tomatoes and combine with vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Plate the spreads/tapenades in small bowls with spoons.
- Olives go in a small bowl with a side bowl for the pits.
- Arrange the mozzarella on a plate with basil. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top because why not.
- Chop parsley and unwrap the goat cheese log. Spread the parsley over a flat surface and roll the goat cheese log in the parsley until the outside is coated. Place on a plate and sprinkle the top with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Arrange meats on a plate.
- Place Parmesan cheese in a bowl, add good olive oil and some salt and pepper.
- Arrange ALL of this on a table with the appropriate utensils. Step back, let everyone have at it!