Meaning "little toasts" in Italian, crostini are literally small, thin slices of toasted bread, but the name also has come to mean a type of appetizer that consists of small slices of toast with a savory topping. Often, this topping is a moist pâte, such as this luscious one made of green peas flavored with herbs.
|1||cup vegetable stock|
|1/4||teaspoon crushed red pepper|
|8 to 10||ounces green peas, fresh or frozen|
|1||tablespoon minced, fresh chives|
|1||tablespoon minced, fresh parsley|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste|
|1/2||cup low-fat whipped cream cheese|
|1||teaspoon lemon juice|
|One baguette, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices|
|Extra-virgin olive oil|
|Finely diced cooked bacon (optional)|
In a small saucepan, combine the stock, red pepper, and peas. Cook over medium-high heat until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes, then drain.
Place the peas, chives, and parsley in a food processor and purée. Add the cream cheese and lemon juice and blend again. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until toasted and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the olive oil. Add to each crostini some of the pureed pea mixture. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 to 8 servings.
Recipe by Maggie Oster, author of 20 books on gardening and cooking, and a regional editor for NGA. Maggie lives to garden and eat on the family farm in southern Indiana.