WRITTEN ON May 14th, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Vegetarian

Some of my catering friends scoff at crostini.  Too plain.  I could not disagree more.  In my opinion, simple food is the best kind.  Dishes with just a few ingredients, handled with care, are my favorite.  I like light, fresh flavors and there is nothing I love more than to single out one ingredient and let it shine.  And that, my friends, is why I love crostini.  Who can say no to delicious morsels on top of toasted bread?  Second only to pasta as the ultimate comfort food.  They also could not be easier to prepare, and in terms of toppings, the only limit is your own creativity.  Here’s one that is really basic, for all the beginners out there.  Once you’ve mastered this one, challenge yourself to make up new combinations.  Honeyed figs and bacon, ricotta with orange zest and black pepper, smashed fava beans with mint.  It’s also a great delivery system for veggies. Basically it’s a platform for whatever is seasonal and fresh.  Now that’s good eating.

Spinach and Parm Crostini
½ baguette, sliced thin on a bias (you can use the whole thing and save the extra slices for about a week, in a ziplock bag)
½ bag of spinach, washed and dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Wedge of fresh parmigiano reggiano, for grating

Preheat oven to 325 while slicing bread.  On a sheet tray, lay out slices and brush very lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the slices.  Bake in oven until dried through and just golden, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, sauté garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil (about 2 turns around a small sauté pan).  Add spinach, allow to cook down and wilt.  Once it is almost completely wilted, season with salt and pepper and finish wilting.  Top toasts with spinach, drizzle with olive oil. Using a vegetable peeler, shave one slice of parm on top of each toast.  Serve warm.

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