The Best Crostini Recipes

By Christina Collins

beef crostini

What is Crostini?

Cros·ti·ni: Noun. A fancy name for small slices of toast with toppings. (FYI, that’s my definition. Not Merriam-Webster’s!)

When to serve Crostini

It is frequent, if not reliable, that if I am hosting one friend or a full scale party, there will be Crostini’s! In fact, I call it the “Crostini Du Jour!” Crostini’s are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine when chatting with a friend, and easily scalable so you can also please a crowd.

It’s all about the base

Slice baguette into slices and arrange in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Coat evenly with EVOO spray and sprinkle of salt & pepper. Bake, flip, finish. Let cool or use immediately.

Crostini is all about the base. Your toppings may be delicious, but if they don’t hold up on the base because the bread is soggy, or the base is too hard and crumbles in your hands, then it doesn’t matter how good the toppings are. Think about the crostini toast as the foundation to your building – it’s essential. All you need for a great foundation is a fresh baguette, extra virgin olive oil (evoo) spray, an oven, and a sheet pan.

How to make Crostini

The Best Crostini toppings

The toppings can be super simple such as tomato bruschetta, or can be as creative as you want. There are endless amounts of Crostini toppings and they can be followed exactly or they can inspire you. Once you know how to make a good base (I’ll show you how to make crostini toast in the video below), and you understand the basic combinations that go well together, you can really start to get creative. You will be able to create toppings from items in your pantry, from leftovers and you’ll make new inspirations. Here are some popular combinations:

  • Goat Cheese with Fig Jam
  • Ricotta & Herbs
  • Tomato Bruschetta
  • Beef & Horseradish Sauce
  • Goat cheese & Roasted Peppers
  • Olive Tapenade
  • Whipped feta & tomatoes
  • Goat cheese, Whipped Feta or Ricotta Cheese with Truffle Honey

Recipe: Crostini with Goat Cheese & Peppers

In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 jar of thin sliced roasted peppers- drained and pated dry, with 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, .5 tsp kosher salt (or to taste), 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper and 2 tbsp drained capers. Cover and marinate for 3-4 hours at room temp. Taste for seasoning.

Top toast points with generous portion of room temperature goat cheese and then top with the roasted pepper mixture. Ensure each piece has a few capers. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Sharing what I have learned

Like most things in the kitchen, you learn to get good at something through trial and error. Crostini is no different, Through experience I have learned a few things that I can share with you.

First, I learned that traditional recipes call for brushing the toasts with olive oil before baking. I found this not only to be time consuming, but it was inconsistent. Where the brush landed often was soaked with too much olive oil while other spots were too dry. It also makes an oily mess. So I thought, “Why not use olive oil spray?” Once I tried that, I never looked back. It provided a consistent application across the bread and takes seconds to do! Note: I did not say Pam spray or canola oil spray, I said Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray.

Next, I learned that store bought toast points (or crostini toast) are never as good as home made. It’s not even worth discussing further.

Finally, I learned that the smaller circumference of the baguette, the better. in other words, try to find a narrow baguette. We are going for a toast point that is small and easy to manage in 1-2 bites. Beyond that, it becomes an open faced sandwich!

Recipe: Crostini with Spicy Crab

In a medium sized bowl, combine .5 lb lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage, .5 tsp chopped garlic, 1/4 lb Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños, grated, 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp Hot Sauce, such as Franks, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 cup Mayonnaise, 1/8 cup diced jarred jalapeños.

Top toast points with Crab mixture and top with a sprinkle of grated Monterey Jack. Bake at 350°F for about 10 mixtures or until heated through. Garnish with a thin piece of fresh jalapeño.

Make Ahead Tips:

  • Slice the baguette and store for up to one day in a zip- lock bag, with the air squeezed out. This way, the bread is ready to spray, season and toast when you are!
  • Many of the toppings can be prepared at least one day in advance such as herbed ricotta or whipped feta. Just be sure to bring things topping close to room temperature before serving, especially vegetables or certain cheeses.
  • If your topping can handle some garlic flavor, take a peeled clove of garlic and rub it on the toasted bread slices before serving. This is a great tip from Ina Garten. You won’t believe the level of flavor it adds. (Do this sparingly- it adds more flavor than you think!)
Crostini Toast points

Crostini Recipe (Toast Points)

Perfectly crisp toast points to top with any flavor combinations
Course Appetizer
Cuisine International, Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Baguette
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh Group pepper
  • Parchment paper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat Oven to 425 degreees F. Line a sheet rtay with parchment paper.
  • Slice Baguette at a slight angle, about 1/3- 1/5 inch thick. (I prefer thinner, but they need to be thick enough to hold toppings. Need to use some judgement.)
  • Lay the bread slices in a single layer on the parchment lined sheet tray.
  • Spray the toasts with the EVOO. Spray enough to coat them so they have some oil to absorb and crisp up, but don't saturate them or they will burn before crisping or risk getting soggy.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Flip and repeat- EVOO, salt, pepper.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes. Check for doneness. Flip if desired. Bake in 1 one minute increments until lightly toasted and crisp. Set aside to cool. (They should continue to crisp)

Notes

A great way to add another layer of flavor is to rub a peeled garlic clove on on side of the baked toast. It really changes the flavor and is perfect for some toppings that pair well with garlic such as tomatoes, olives and some meats.  
Keyword bruschetta, crostini, finger food, starter

Share socially… 

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

More to explore

Cauliflower florets are smothered in a rich cheese sauce and baked for a delicious and decadent side dish.
Clean fresh shrimp and coat with egg wash and add to seasoned flour in a ziplock bag. Shake to coat. Deep fry for 3 minutes. Toss with spicy hot pepper sauce and serve with Blue Cheese Dip. Easy shrimp appetizer recipe and better than any restaurant!
This Pork Roast recipe takes some advance planning to ensure you have the necessary ingredients and tools. Once you have what you need, it makes an excellent holiday meal, special occasion dinner, or a Sunday roast for the whole family.