I’m just going to put it out there…bread is my weakness; it has been ever since I was a kid. Embarrassing detail: I actually used to take individual slices of wheat bread and just squeeze them up very compactly and eat them all of the time (I had an awesome mini-kiddie carb belly). Obviously our refrigerator didn’t have much of an imagination.
When I vacationed in Italy for the first time last summer, I fell in love with bread, especially the baguette, all over again. Let’s take the crostini for example; it’s so versatile. Like pizza, your creativity can go wild with all sorts of ingredients and condiments to make the perfect combination of flavors.
That moment when you hit the taste bud jackpot is my favorite part. I call it a mouth-gasm. Call me dirty or call me perverted, but I love food and this is just my reality. It can even get awkward sometimes, like when I’m editing photos of my food and drink photography and I’m making strange noises from my computer chair…my husband gets nervous and walks over to see what I’m looking at (he’s a writer, too). And then he just laughs with surprise. “This, honey...is food porn.” I remark. One of my best gal pals is named The Food Pervert. Nuff said.
So let’s get back on track and introduce you to my latest happytizer recipe: Smashed Raspberry and Goat Cheese Crostinis. My recipe idea all started when I was at the grocery store and I passed by the La Brea Bakery section. La Brea Bakery (by Nancy Silverton) is one of the best bakeries in Los Angeles to purchase bread products from. It may cost you an extra dollar or two but it’s worth it.
My new summer Italian-inspired appetizer is perfect dish to serve if you are entertaining or it’s great to just whip and snack on with a great glass of wine. It’s fresh, chewy, tangy, crunchy and has just the perfect hint of sweetness from the raspberries. Here’s a little trick I learned for the raspberry spread: mash them up with a cocktail muddler – it’s so easy! The added balsamic vinager matched with the raspberries takes it to a whole other level, too. I hope you’ll give my new Smashed Raspberries and Goat Cheese crostinis a-go, and I’d love to hear your feedback. P.S., I think a glass of sparkling rosé wine or a fruit-forward Pinot Noir would be a great pairing for this crostini appetizer!
1. Slice crostinis and spread out on a foil-lined baking pan. Evenly spray the crostinis with baking spray (i.e. Pam or Trader Joe’s Canola cooking spray) and cook on the top rack of your oven for 6-7 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool.
2. Drain cannellini beans in wire mesh colander for 5 minutes. In small bowl, uniformly, yet lightly mash the cannellini beans with a fork or a muddler, then add lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste) and mix again until blended together.
3. In a shaker tin, add raspberries and balsamic vinegar and give a them a muddle (use a fork and bowl if you don’t have a muddler and shaker).
4. Spread goat cheese on the crostinis first, follow with a 1/2 teaspoon of the cannellini bean spread and top with the same amount of raspberry spread. Sprinkle crostinis with fresh thyme leaves. Enjoy!