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Crostini is an Italian dish made with fried or toasted bread. Ideal for use as a snack or as an appetizer, crostini is similar to bruschetta, although the slices of crostini are usually thinner. Crostini is a versatile dish that lends itself well to a number of different topping options. Here are a few examples of tasty crostini toppings that are sure to be a hit as a family snack or as appetizers at a party.
One of the simplest types of crostini toppings uses nothing more than a high quality grade of olive oil. While crostini is normally prepared by brushing on a thin coat of olive oil to the surface of the bread before toasting or frying, the oil can also be enhanced with a few simple herbs to make a great topping for the crusty bread. It is possible to add in a little dried rosemary, chopped basil or even a little freshly ground pepper in order to give the olive oil an extra kick.
For people who want something a little more substantial, there is always the option of preparing a sauce to pour over the sections of crostini. The range of sauces include tomato based types that are much like spaghetti sauce or a cheese sauce made from any type of cheese desired. Additions such as finely chopped peppers may be added to the sauce for more body and texture.
Another approach to crostini toppings include using sections of cherry tomatoes and a combination of herbs and one or more grated cheeses. After cutting the cherry tomatoes in two, place the sections on the crostini, sprinkle with herbs of your choice and then top with a light dusting of the grated cheese. The cheese may be coarsely or finely grated, depending on your preference. When allowed to melt slightly, the cheese helps to bond the flavor of the tomatoes, bread, and the herbs into a unified taste.
Others may prefer crostini toppings that include the presence of one or more types of meat. Slices of sausage, cooked ground sausage, crumbled ground beef or even chicken or turkey meat can be used with equal ease. Simply cook the meat or meats, then apply in a more or less even layer across the surface of the crostini. Adding cheese to the top will provide an effect that is very much like making a simple bread pizza.
Vegetables can also be added as filling or topping for crostini. In addition to tomato slices, it is also possible to slice thin sections of eggplant, onions, garlic, mushrooms, or bell peppers and use as toppings. Be sure to grill the vegetables slightly before placing on the crostini, then crisp the finished dish under a broiler for a few moments before serving.
While crostini toppings are often applied to a whole slice of the toasted bread, it is also possible to cut the bread into uniform cubes. The cubes can be alternated on a skewer with cubes of cheese, small chunks of meat, and even chopped sections of vegetables. The filled skewer can be doused with a little olive oil and herbs, then placed under a broiler in order to crisp up all the ingredients. The end result creates a pleasant presentation as well as being a balanced snack option.
There is no end to the possibilities for crostini toppings and filling. All that is required is a little imagination and the willingness to try something a different. Experiment with different combinations of crostini toppings and see what pleases your palate.
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