Apr 14 2010

As Promised…

Published by at 7:53 pm under Entertaining,Starters

Not surprisingly, I did find a use for the rest of that cilantro pesto I had leftover last week. My dad and stepmom were in town for a short California vacation, and I invited them over for a glass of wine + unspecified hors d’oeuvres so I could give them a tour of my little apartment. I decided to make vegetable crostinis that I could prepare while I was getting ready for dinner and throw in the oven as soon as they arrived.

Since I wanted to stick with spring-y ingredients, I picked up some mushrooms and asparagus at the market, as well as a baguette for making the crostini. The baguette, it turns out, was flavored with fennel seeds, so it had extra tastes going on that meshed fine, but I probably would have preferred better without. Note to self for next time!

I’d recommend making these for just a few guests to munch on before dinner. We’d bought some beautiful artichokes earlier in the day, so I steamed one of those to serve with a lemon butter sauce as well, and I put out a little bowl of wasabi almonds from the farmer’s market. With a bottle of Syrah, it was a perfect cocktail hour!

Asparagus and Mushroom Crostini with Cilantro Pesto

Ingredients (Serves 4):

12 brown mushrooms

1 bunch asparagus tips (about 15)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

A dash (about 1/2 tsp.) vanilla

Salt and pepper

1 baguette, sliced into 3/4-inch pieces

1/3 cup cilantro pesto (click for recipe)

1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roughly chop mushrooms and cut asparagus tips in half. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, and add garlic. Add mushrooms and asparagus to pan, and then add vinegar and vanilla. Saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place baguette slices on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then spread a layer of cilantro pesto on each one. Top with a spoonful of the sauteed vegetable mixture and a healthy pinch of cheese. Bake t 450 degrees for 10 minutes, or until bread is toasted and cheese begins to bubble and brown.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “As Promised…”

  1. Billyon 22 Apr 2010 at 8:11 am

    I was there!…and the crostinis were an excellent pairing with the Sonoma Pinot Noir Liv and John served. We gobbled them up, polished off the wine, and went to a marvelous dinner at a restaurant Olivia discovered. I’ll let her talk about that another time.

    The dad and Stepmom participated in a culinary weekend in Greenwood, Mississippi. For those who don’t know, Greenwood is the home of Viking Range Corporation, who sponsor a cooking school in conjunction with their quaint Alluvian Hotel. We were entertained and instructed by Chef Frank Stitt – james Beard award-winner from Birmingham, Alabama. This story has a point. Frank prepared a starter of grilled focacia with ricotta, sweet peas and pea tendrils. It is a terrific seasonal taste!

  2. Franceson 22 Apr 2010 at 8:23 am

    I also was there! Those were delicious. How I would love some now since it is almost lunchtime here in MS! Keep up the good work.

  3. Livon 22 Apr 2010 at 11:24 am

    So glad you both enjoyed the appetizers! But I have to credit my dad for bringing the pinot along 🙂

    Billy & Frances’ Culinary Weekend Extravaganza sounded fabulous! I’ll have to experiment with more small bites for starters, because that sounds like a delicious one.