Crostini Double Take

Okay, big fat question for the day:

What’s the difference between bruschetta and crostini?

If you said something along the lines of…

bruschetta stems from the Italian verb bruscare — i.e. to roast over coals– and primarily refers to a thickish cut of grilled/charred country bread, generally rubbed with olive oil and garlic, and sometimes further dressed with a  fresh tomato salad. While crostini is Italian for little toasts, and are typically thinner bread slices toasted crisp and used as a crunchy base for any number of spreads, canapes, cheeses, etc…

Well then, kudos to you.   You smartsy fartsy thing, you.

Sorry, I’ve no prize to give you… except the satisfaction of knowing that you are more knowledgeable than I.

This girl was just hitting Google up hard for a solid explanation.    But now, I feel utterly enlightened.                     I like it.

In my world, bruschetta and crostini were essentially interchangeable terms for olive oil-lovin, oven-toasted bread slices with tasty junk piled on top.

I guess I always pretty much associated tomatoes and basil with bruschetta.

Kinda close.

But subtle differences can make all the difference.

Regardless, bruschetta/crostini support the fact that the fine nation of Italy puts out flipping delicious food.

Both likewise serve as edible proof that Italians are cooler than cucumbers, but speak a befuddling language.

And my current grade in Italian will enthusiastically second that.

Separate story.  Sad story.    Let’s not go there.

Anyway, I’m gonna classify what we have here as crostini.

My bread slices were verging on overly thick for what we now know to be true crostini, but in spirit… it was all about the glorious matrimony of toasty bread and vibrant toppings, rather than spotlighting bread as star of the show. Plus, there was no grilling involved.

So… smells like crostini spirit so me.

The best thing about a dish like this is insane versatility.

Like whatever’s in season, whatever you’re hankering for, whatever  you desperately need to clear out your fridge… it can all pretty much find itself onto some toasted bread and end up being gosh darn phenomenal.

Fine example… the goat cheese with thyme roasted grapes we have going on up in here would make for a fab autumn or winter topper for crostini. While the chickpea and spinach puree with roasted asparagus and fresh tomato is super seasonal for a summer supper.

All ingredients I had lying around.

You can likely scrape up something similar.

Toast is a really nice place to lay your artistry.

Second best thing about crostini (or bruschetta for that matter), is its innate rustic elegance.

A good chunk of that likely comes with the Euro-name, but still, for a recipe that’s so simple and un-fanciful in production, people are strangely impressed by it.

I mean, just saying you served this to company one evening… there’s no way they’re gonna suspect that you spent the majority of the day before their arrival plopped on the couch without pants, sporadically eating Cap’n Crunch from a juice glass.

Not that any of us could manage such levels of such utter sophistication.

Just imagine how this hypothetical conversation could go…

Random Person— “Oh Darcy, what did you make there?”

Me— “Nothing special, just a couple batches of crostini. I hope you like.”

Random Person— “You are just too much, these look fabulous!”

See, that went well. And now, take two…

Random Person: “Oh Darcy, what’d you make there? …And where are your pants?”

Me: “Uh… toast with junk on it. Pants are stoopid”

Random person: “…cool. Ya know, I think I have some coupons for Taco Bell.”
In pretty much any situation I can conjure in my head right now, we’re gonna wanna stick with convo option one.

Conclusion: use a food’s correct title, wear pants around company, keep it classy. Always.

Crostini with Goat Cheese & Thyme Roasted Grapes 

  • 1 lb red grapes– washed and quartered
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (2 tsp fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • a light sprinkle of salt and pepper… to taste
  • 10 oz Chevre, set out to soften
  • 1 loaf bread (Italian or French baguette)– cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices
  • high-quality extra virgin olive oil, for brushing (about 1/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Toss the grapes, olive oil and seasonings together in a bowl to evenly coat. Spread the grapes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until skins begin to shrink and split.
Remove from oven and set aside.
For the toasts:
Preheat oven to 375.
Brush each side of the bread with olive oil and arrange on a large baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crusty, roughly 10-12 minutes. Flip the bread slices over once halfway through cooking.
Spread each toast with the softened goat cheese then top with the thyme roasted grapes.
Crostini with Chickpea-Spinach Puree, Roasted Asparagus & Tomato
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 batch of roasted asparagus, prepared and chopped into small 1/2 inch lengths
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
**Follow recipe for toasts above
Pulse the chickpeas, spinach, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper together in a food processor. With the processor continually running, stream in the olive oil. Blend until you have a smooth, creamy spread.
Toss together the chopped tomato, prepared asparagus and fresh basil.
Spread crostini toasts with the chickpea spread and top each with the tomato-asparagus blend.
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