I've found my new go-to summertime appetizer recipe. It's official.
I made this recipe yesterday (with a few changes) for a dinner party at a former co-worker's house. I knew it had to be good since, with few exceptions, any food seems to get better when it's roasted. Plus, I've been on a goat cheese kick lately, and I always love bread no matter what. I knew the recipe had to be a winner just from reading it, and I was definitely right!
You will need:
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 loaf crusty bread (I bought a loaf of batard bread, only after giggling because I misread it as "bastard")
- 6 oz soft goat cheese
- 1 Tbsp julienned mint leaves
- 1 Tbsp julienned basil leaves
- Slice bread on a diagonal into 1-inch or 1.5-inch thick pieces. (I ended up with 14 slices.) Broil or toast the bread, turning if needed, until it's golden on both sides. Make sure it doesn't burn! Allow the crostini to cool.
- Next, set the oven temperature to 350 F. Slice the strawberries and place them in a glass baking dish; drizzle them with the vinegar. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast the berries for 10-15 minutes, or until they're soft and syrupy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, mint, and basil. The crostini should be cool by now, so spread the cheese mixture evenly over the slices. When the berries have cooled, spoon them evenly over the cheese mixture, and top with more basil for garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
The original recipe directed me to roast the strawberries for only 5 minutes, but I upped it to 15 because I wanted them to break down even further. I think I could have keep going for another 5-10 minutes, honestly. There was a lot of vinegar syrup left over after roasting, and if I had been thinking clearly, I would have saved it to make salad dressing instead of pouring it out. Next time I make this, I might decrease the amount of vinegar or roast the berries for a longer time.
I really can't say enough about this recipe though. The crunchiness of the bread works beautifully with the creamy cheese and softened berries. The pungency of the goat cheese is toned down by the strawberries' sweetness, the tang of the vinegar, and the cool mint kick. The recipe took a little bit of time to put together, but the steps really weren't complicated at all. Definitely try this one before the summer ends!