March 14, 2011
When I was in Italy, I learned that the Italians serve crostini topped with just about everything from Sardines smothered atop crusty bread, to zesty wilted radicchio. With this inspiration, in my home crostini have become the perfect way to use up an overabundance of vegetables from the garden or leftovers from the farmers market.
The other day, I substituted arugula in my Sautéed Swiss Chard recipe, slapped it on a crostini, and made myself a great little snack. The key to the crostini is getting the perfect amount of crustiness and chewiness in your bread.
Over the years, I have made crostini in many different ways: in the broiler, in the over oven, and on the grill. The thing is, you don’t want to overcook the bread so it’s hard to bite into, but you also don’t want to cook it so lightly that it falls apart or is soggy. I’ve discovered that my favorite way to cook crostini is with my grill pan.
I get the pan super hot and almost char the bread. This adds a fantastic, rustic flavor for any type of topping. Ciabatta rolls work great for this because they are the perfect length for one portion. If you can’t find the rolls, a regular Ciabatta loaf is fine, you just might want to cut your slices in half before you serve
Ciabatta loaf or rolls
Salt to taste
Place your grill pan on the stove at medium/high heat and wait for about 8 minutes (remember to put your vent or fan on!).
While your grill pan heats up to temperature, slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices. Using a pastry brush, paint each side of the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the bread for 1-2 minutes per side and remove. The bread should have golden grill marks, and be just slightly dark brown around the edges.
You can cut the pieces into sections to top with your favorite vegetable (I love arugula and Swiss Chard), serve them with soup or salad, add your favorite cheese (goat cheese is incredible) or simply eat them plain. Enjoy!