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6 ways to take crostini to the next level with ingredients you already have

Elevate your basic crostini with the best of this spring's farmers market -- or whatever you have in your fridge!
/ Source: TODAY

Author and chef Ashton Keefe shares recipes from her cookbook, "Lemon & Salt: A Modern Girl's Guide to Culinary Revelry."

Toast is in. This so-called trend is mystifying; doesn’t everyone know that carbs make everything better? I’m not one to argue with toast. And crostini is the toast-of-choice for entertaining: crostini. Elevate your basic crostini with the best of this spring’s farmers market -- or whatever you have in your fridge!

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Treat it like a tiny, bit size open-faced sandwich. Start with good bread, liberally dressed with olive oil and salt. Top with cheese, vegetables and meat and repeat. Now, that’s a great start to a party!

A variety of simple crostini
Ashton Keefe

Basic Crostini

Makes 2 dozen crostini

Crostini is a perfect start to any party. Each of these recipes can top 1 dozen crostini, but feel free to mix and match.

  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4” thick slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves, whole

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place baguette slices in a single layer on a sheet tray and drizzle or brush generously with olive oil. Cook until toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove and rub with garlic clove to infuse garlic flavor.

Cherry Tomato Crostini

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 325° F. On a sheet tray toss together olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, salt and sugar. Cook for 35 - 40 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes or so until tomatoes begin to pop but don’t lose their shape completely. Remove and discard garlic cloves. Place tomatoes in a bowl and stir to combine, adding more olive oil as desired.

Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini

Pear and cheese crostini
Ashton Keefe
  • 1 - 2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Spread crostini with goat cheese. Toss pears with lemon juice and salt. Top crostini with pears and hazelnuts.

Mushroom Crostini

  • 1 cup assorted mushrooms, cooked
  • 1 - 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Top crostini with mushrooms and season with thyme, zest and salt. Drizzle with olive oil.

Asparagus and Bacon Crostini

Asparagus and bacon crostini
Ashton Keefe
  • 2 - 3 ounces blue cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked
  • 10 - 12 asparagus, blanched
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Top crostini with blue cheese, then bacon and asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.

Ricotta and Radish Crostini

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 - 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Slather ricotta on crostini and top with sliced radishes. Season with salt.

Avocado Crostini

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Cut into large slices and toss with lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Top crostini and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately to prevent oxidation.