Tuesday December 18, 2012
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been one to throw together a last-minute party. I’m not sure if it’s just the relaxed nature of the group of friends I have, or that I’m just used to squeezing everything in last-minute since it’s what happens regardless of how much I plan anyway. The best example of my early adulthood entertaining may be the one I threw at my parents’ house in LA back when all my friends were home for the summer. What started as a small group of my friends erupted in a full-blown party. Needless to say, we had a little too much fun, and that was the last time that ever happened again.
In recent memory, however, my gatherings on a whim consist of the same good time, but less debauchery — cooking, creating new cocktails, and cleaning before my guests arrive. I’ve been able to seemingly master the last-minute with easy to prepare foods, and keeping the beverages simple.
Crostinis are one of my absolute favorite things to serve with other appetizers, or just on their own. They’re easily customizable, and can easily accommodate a variation of palates, and most importantly, all it really takes is a baguette or two, a coat of some nice olive oil, and your creativity at the grocery store. And throughout the years I’ve tried my hand and making crostinis in a variety of ways and love the baguette best. Here are just a few simple recipes of my favorites combinations of salty, savory, spicy, and sweet throughout the years that you can also be modified based on the number of guests you’re inviting.
For all crostini – Preheat oven at 375. Cut baguette into 1-inch slices. Place on a baking sheet as tightly or as sparse as desired. Either lightly drizzle or using a brush coat, eat slice with olive oil. Toast oven for 2-3 minutes. Read on for specific toppings…
Minted Pea Prosciutto Crostini – 1 bag of peas. Water. 10 leaves of mint, chopped. Prosciutto. Heat water in a small-medium saucepan. Drop peas in for a 2-3 minutes, drain, and cool down with cold water. Gently mash peas with the bag of a fork, add a few pinches of salt, the mint, and microgreens (optional). Roll prosciutto up in a cone shape and place over crostini.
Spiced Shrimp and Avocado Crostini – 1 lb of uncooked shrimp. 2 avocados, meat removed and coarsely chopped. 1 tbsp Hot paprika. 3 tbsp lime juice. 1/2 red pepper. 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes. 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped. Clean shrimp thoroughly – de-vein, remove shell. Bring a few cups of water to boil. Add a few pinches of salt. Drop shrimp into water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain shrimp and run under ice-cold bath. Chop shrimp. Set aside.
Place 1/2 the avocados, cilantro, lime juice, red pepper in a processor. Blend until creamy. In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, other half of diced avocado, red pepper flakes, flakes, paprika, and a touch of olive oil. Top crostini with avocado spread then top with shrimp mixture.
Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta Crostini– 1 pack of heirloom cherry tomatoes. 4 sprigs of basil. Ricotta. Olive Oil. In a small bowl, toss together tomatoes, basil and olive oil, and a few pinches of salt. Scoop ricotta generously onto each crostini, and place tomatoes over.
Salted Chocolate and Olive Oil Crostini– Bittersweet chocolate. Olive oil. Coarse sea salt. Turn off oven. Place chocolate on already-toasted crostini. Place back into oven (turned off). Let sit until ready to serve, or until chocolate is melted. Lightly drizzle olive oil over chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt.