Monday, November 24, 2008
Crostinis are an original recipe from the GrillinFool. What the heck is a crostini? Basically it's toasted bread but in this case I do the toasting on the grill and add a bunch of other things for flavor.
Start with any baguette or loaf of bakery bread - Sweet Mini Loaves, Sourdough, French, etc. Just make sure it is soft sided bread. If it's hard sided it's gonna have the consistency of a hockey puck.
Take the bread and cut 1 inch thick slices on the bias to increase the surface area. Here is a loaf of Sourdough French that I cut cut into 6 slices sitting next to a small plate that has about a quarter cup of olive oil sitting on it:
Each slice of bread needs to be dredged in the oil to keep the bread from burning right away. Both sides need to be oiled. One side:
And then the other:
Here we have half of the bread oiled:
You get the idea...You will invariably have to pour more oil on the plate at least a couple of times because the bread soaks it up like a sponge
Once they are all oiled a couple cracks of fresh black pepper on each:
From here we add the basil to all of these. Be generous:
Now we add a spoonful of minced garlic to each. Yeah, I said it, a full spoonful. It will make sense in a second why this isn't just plain nuts!?!
That seems like a whole lotta garlic, and it is. But before I show why it's not nuts, take the back of a spoon and push the garlic into the bread. Don't mash it, just push it in with some pressure from the back of the spoon:
Now for the final ingredient for the topping. Grate some sort of hard cheese like Parmesian, Asiago, Romano, etc. You need enough to cover the tops thickly of all 6 slices of bread but leave this to the side. It goes on last. Oh, and that pregrated crap in the green can will not work for this. And considering how long hard cheese lasts in a ziplock in the fridge, I am really surprised why people bother with the stuff in the can.
OK, now on to the cooking process. These are not something you can throw on the grill and forget about. The bad news is they have to be watched the entire time they are over the heat. The good news is that they are only over the heat a couple of minutes. If you walk away for more than a minute you will be starting over.
Now that we have that out of the way, drop them directly over the coals:
Keep checking them every few seconds and rotate as necessary to cook them evenly. Once they are toasted flip them as necessary. Don't wait for all of them to toast evenly before flipping them:
This is the reason it's not nuts to put that much garlic on the crostinis. A lot of the garlic will fall into the fire when flipped. Once they have been flipped look for the garlic to brown and the endges of the crust to brown as well. When that happens pull them off to the side to the section of the grill without any heat (in this case next to my steaks that are staying warm during this process) and cover the tops with the grated cheese.
Once you cover the tops with the cheese, put the lid on the grill and melt the cheese. Normally we do these as an appetizer but tonight we decided that we would have them with the meal itself.
If cooking these for a large group, I do not recommend doing more than eight at a time in order to keep from burning them. 8 doesn't sound like much, but if you cut them in half when they are done you have 16 to hand out to people.
These look much more appetizing if the lighting was better, but considering we corked this just before serving the food, my limited photography skills were in the tank by this point
The finished product:
Considering the poor quality of the pics of the crostinis from guy night, I thought I would include some pics of some crostinis I did last summer in Michigan. Here they are over the heat toasting on the bottom:
And here we have some toasting the top and some covered in cheese that will be melted once the ones on the left are done, slathered with cheese and pulled over to the side with no heat: