Colorful Spring Crostini

You remember my birthday party spread? Delicious spring ingredients and lots of finger foods!

 

Party Food | Land of Laurel

 

I am mildly obsessed with crostini. You’ve seen my fall fave, Pomegranate, Butternut Squash Crostini, and I’m here today to share some delightful spring combinations! This isn’t an exact recipe, but rather a guideline on a great, easy, and colorful way to make a huge variety of crostini.

 

Colorful Spring Crostini | Land of Laurel

 

For my party, I started with a few basic crostini ingredients: baguettes and spreads. I knew I was going have quite a few people over, so I thinly sliced two baguettes and toasted the little pieces in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes. I wanted them to be golden, but not browned at all and just perfectly crunchy. While they were toasting, I made my spreads. Since I was doing many different flavor variations on the toppings, my spreads were basic. I used about 12 ounces of ricotta per baguette, mixing it with a bit of cream so it would spread more smoothly. I then took half of the ricotta-cream mixture and microplaned in the rind of one lemon as well as the juice. You could easily add some chopped fresh herbs at this stage too. After that it was all the toppings! The night before I’d roasted my veggies for about 10-15 minutes with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, leaving the vegetable-y taste: cherry tomatoes, thin slivers of zucchini and carrot, red bell pepper. I whipped up a little caramelized onion: letting it sizzle gently on the stove for just under and hour before adding a bit of water and some balsamic vinegar. I also boiled some asparagus for about 5 minutes until it was just cooked, but still had a bit of a crunch. Other toppings I used included toasted almond slivers, walnuts, and pinenuts, avocado, and cucumber. After that, it was just a little more flavor with herbs: fresh mint, basil, and dill thinly sliced and sprinkled on top. On some crostini I gently drizzled a little honey to bring out a bit of sweet flavor.

 

Crostini Close-Up | Land of Laurel

 

Simple right? And oh so delicious. It was a lot of toppings, but the prep was simple and I did most of the cooking the night before. The day of, I took all the veggies out of the refrigerator and brought them to room temperature before putting all the crostini together. It was quick and painless and abso-freaking-lutely gorgeous!

 

Colorful Crostini | Land of Laurel

 

Here are some of my favorite flavor combinations:

 

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Asparagus, Toasted Almonds, Dill

Ricotta Spread, Basil, Honey

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Avocado, Dill

Ricotta Spread, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Basil

Ricotta Spread, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Bell Pepper

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Roasted Carrot, Mint

Ricotta Spread, Caramelized Onion, Toasted Almonds

Ricotta Spread, Walnuts, Honey

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Roasted Zucchini, Basil, Toasted Almonds,

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Roasted Zucchini, Roasted Carrot, Dill,

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Caramelized Onion, Walnuts

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Pear, Almond, Basil

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Pear, Walnut, Honey

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Basil, Pine Nuts

Lemon-Ricotta Spread, Pine Nuts, Roasted Zucchini, Dill

 

The best part is an hour and a half of prep with just a little bit of a whole lot of ingredients gets you a wonderful plethora of creative and colorful crostini! At my party I was able to prep some other dishes that involved more knowledge of the recipe, while putting three great helpers on crostini duty. I gave them my list of suggestions, but they enjoyed coming up with their own creative combinations, leading to a delightful, varying snack.

 

What’s your favorite party food? Do you like to prep a bunch of food before hand or cook everything the day of?

Zucchini Crostini

I made Zucchini Crostini! Just kidding. They’re Butternut Squash, Pomegranate with Lemon Ricotta Crostini, but Zucchini Crostini rhymed so well!! 🙂 Hey, I tried ok?

Anyways, prepare your mouth for absolute deliciousness! I whipped these up real quick last Saturday when I had some friends over for dinner and OHMYGOD they were delicious! I served these as appetizers and then ate them for dinner. They were too good to have just five one! I hadn’t seen a recipe or anything to inspire me to whip this up, but I grabbed some things from my home away from home with the idea of crostini in mind.

Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, Lemon Ricotta Crostini | Land of Laurel

What you’ll need:

1/2 – Large Butternut Squash

2 tsp – Rosemary

2 Tbs – Olive Oil

16 oz – Fresh Ricotta Cheese

1 – Large Pomegranate

1 Lemon – Lemon Rind

1/2 Lemon – Lemon Juice

1 – Rustic Sweet Baguette

Salt and Pepper

Note: I bought all my ingredients organic. They taste better and are better for you and the environment, but this recipe would work with non-organics as well. This definitely makes use of Fall produce, so making these in season will result in better tongue tantalizing deliciousness. Say that five times fast!

Tongue tantalizing deliciousness.Tongue tantalizing deliciousness.Tongue tantalizing deliciousness.Tongue tantalizing deliciousness.Tongue tantalizing deliciousness. Dang I love copy/paste! 🙂

First, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Then a little prep; I cut my pomegranate in half and removed all the seeds using my favorite method: banging the back with a wooden spoon.  Then I sliced my baguette on an angle, cutting long thin 1/4″ thick pieces. I placed the slices onto a cookie tray and sprinkled them with a little bit of olive oil.

I, then, turned to the butternut squash and peeled it before cutting it in half. I saved one half for another meal and cut the other into pieces a bit smaller than 1/2″ cubes, but just a tad bigger than 1/4″ cubes. You want a whole bunch of pieces to fit on a single baguette slice, so smaller is better! I promise cutting the butternut squash is the most time consuming part. Once the pieces were cut, I spread them out on a cookie sheet and sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over them and tossed them with a wooden spatula.

When the butternut squash cubes were well oiled I took out my rosemary. I cut a bunch of rosemary from my parent’s garden whenever I visit them and dry it myself. Rosemary is my absolute favorite herb. My mother calls it my “Signature Herb!” I use it all the time! I scattered a couple teaspoons of rosemary, a bit of salt, and some pepper over my butternut squash and tossed it again, then popped the tray into the oven with the baguette slices. Watch your squash like a hawk! At 400 degrees Fahrenheit, tiny butternut squash cubes and then baguette slices cook through in just a couple of minutes! Mine took only about five minutes until the squash was hot and soft and the baguette slices were just starting to turn golden.

While the squash and bread is in the oven, take out your ricotta cheese and dump it out into a mixing bowl. I took my microplane and grated the lemon rind into the bowl. I used one lemon worth of zest, then cut the lemon in half and juiced half of it into the same bowl. I mixed the ricotta gently with a fork and added some salt and paper to taste. Once I’d finished the ricotta, the butternut squash was done cooking so I took it out of the oven and put it on top of the stove so I could begin assembling the crostini!

To assemble, I set up a little line with the bread slices first, then the ricotta, then the butternut squash, and ended with the pomegranate and a nice platter. I took a spoon and smeared a small amount onto one of the toasted baguette slices, then — using another spoon — gently layered butternut squash on top. I finished it off by sprinkling on the pomegranate seeds. I couldn’t make them fast enough! My guest were eating them off the platter before I could finish putting together the next one!

These crostini are simple, easy, and delicious! The tastes combine in a wonderful and unexpected manner. The crostini are decidedly very Autumn! Perfect for a cold blustery November evening! Who knows, I may even make them again for Thanksgiving dinner appetizers! This is the kind of hors d’oeuvres that seems fancy, but really takes very little skill!

Have you whipped up any quick appetizers lately? Tried making these crostini? Let me know!