Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trattoria Brown - Crostini Three Ways

Crostini are the simplest of Italian foods. They are in essence, grilled or broiled bread with some sort of topping. They are a blank slate, which makes the infinitely versatile. At Trattoria Brown, crostini play a part in almost any dinner party. During our last one, we decided to try crostini three ways, and all turned out quite well.

All three crostini start with a baguette cut into 3/4 inch slices. The slices are then grilled under a blazing hot broiler until each side browns nicely, but does not burn (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side). This is your base, now on to the toppings.

Crostini with Rubbed Garlic and Parmigiano


15 broiled baguette slices
1 large clove garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste


Take the sliced baguette slices just after they come out of the oven and rub them with garlic until lightly covered. Place the slices on a serving plate and sprinkle salt over all pieces. Pour over olive oil, then microplane parm on top. You get something that looks like this.

Don't be afraid of the rubbed garlic. The heat from the warm crostini cook the garlic enough to take away much of its pungency while leaving a light, fresh taste.

Crostini with Caramelized Onions


15 broiled baguette slices
3 large white onions, halved and sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt


Preheat your oven to 350. Mix together onions, olive oil, and salt in a heavy pot (e.g., dutch oven) and place in oven. Cook onions for approximately 3 hours, stirring about every 15 minutes.

When onions are caramelized, remove from pot and place atop baguette slices. (Picture to follow next recipe.)

Crostini with Swiss Chard and Bacon


15 broiled baguette slices
2 bunches swiss chard stems included, washed and chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
3 strips bacon, sliced


Place a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add bacon and render until lightly crispy. Lower heat to medium low and add the garlic and swiss chard. Cook until the chard is tender and soft, about 15 minutes. (Hint: when the stem is soft, it's done.)

When fully cooked, remove the mixture from the sauté pan and place atop baguette slices.

Here's what the last two recipes will look like.

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