Monday, December 17, 2012

Pesto Crostini [updated for the holidays & Super Bowl!]

pesto crostini served with chopped tomatoes. Cooking Chat recipe.

UPDATE: I reposted this in December as a good holiday party option. Now, guess what I'm bringing for the Super Bowl?!? That's right, pesto crostini again! Made a huge batch of pesto while "Cooking for the Cause" the other day, plenty left to bring a batch of these for the Superbowl. If you're still looking for inspiration, this is quick & tasty!
Need to bring an appetizer to a holiday party that is easy, tasty and features Christmas colors in the presentation? I've had this recipe for pesto crostini on my blog and in my repertoire for years. After bringing it to a recent holiday party, I realized I should update it with a photo and some pointers.

The original recipe had goat cheese as a standard ingredient, but I've now made it many times without goat cheese and it is still well-received. Now I use some goat cheese if I have it on hand, but wouldn't go out of my way to add it. Though the tomatoes are optional, for aesthetic reasons, they are really a must if you're making this for a Christmas party!

1 batch of pesto (click for my recipe)
1 baguette, sliced into rounds 3/4 inch thick
4 ozs. goat cheese grape tomatoes (optional), quartered
olive oil spray

Set oven to broil. Spread aluminum foil over baking tray. Spread baguette rounds on the tray (depending on size of baguette you should have enough for 2 or 3 trays). Spray with olive oil to lightly coat. Put tray in oven AND DON'T GO ANYWHERE. Turn that oven light on and keep an eye on things, it only takes a few minutes for the crostini to begin to brown, at which point you should remove them from oven. (alternatively, you can go off and do something else, and expect a visit from your friendly local fire people).

Let the crostini cool for a few minutes. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese (if using) over the crostini, then spread the pesto over the goat cheese. Top with the optional tomatoes if using.

Helpful Tips
-Based on my taste, I go light on the goat cheese and heavy on the pesto. For a crowd, it's a good idea to vary how much of each you put on in the first batch--see which get eaten up and take into consideration when making round 2!
-Topping half of the crostini with the tomatoes, and intermingling them on the serving tray with the ones that just have the pesto, makes for a nice presentation for a Christmas party. If you're serving a finicky crowd, you might want to make a few without the goat cheese. For some reason, not everyone likes chevre!
-I recommend the grape tomatoes as they tend to be pretty good through the fall and winter. Other types of tomato or roasted red peppers also work nicely.