Julia has been fiending for some winter crostini for basically the last 6 months, probably since we did our summertime crostini post. Supposedly she’s even been dreaming about eating this post, and while I might be making fun, I can’t blame her because these puppies turned out comforting and delicious.
The biggest difference between winter and every other season, unless you live in Cali (lucky!) is the annoyingly limited selection of produce. Most people think of winter as limited to root vegetables, apples, oranges, and cranberries and the most trendy of greens, kale. And it’s true that when it’s cold out people quit on veggies unless they’re deep fried or drowned in butter.
So yes, you have to get a little creative to make fresh tasting food in winter, but there are way more vegetables available during winter than you may realize (just check out this seasonal freshness calendar!), and if anything this post is evidence that freshness in winter can be done. Bright flavors are the perfect change-up to all the other heavy food you’ve been pounding. And hey, the flavors we used today pair beautifully with white wine or a nice glass of bubbly, which is probably all the more reason Julia was so excited to go to town on this fearsome foursome of winter crostini.
A couple of notes on this post – there are a lot of different ways to play with the ingredients used here to vary the flavors of these crostini, and it all comes down to the availability of proteins and produce, how much time you’re willing to commit, and personal taste. So here are a couple of questions you may want to ask yourself before putting together your crostini: To char the bread or not to char the bread? Do I want to use pickled beets or pickled fennel? Would raw pistachios be tastier than toasted ones? Etc. etc.
These very simple recipes are just the start, so feel free to experiment and use this post as the jumping off point. If you do happen to take one of these recipes and create a new combination, definitely leave a comment below, We’d love to hear about your culinary creativity.
Take a few orange pieces and juice, mix in with vinegar, salt, and pepper and set aside.
Place a neatly folded slice of prosciutto on each slice of bread.
Adorn with orange slices and orange vinaigrette.
Slice olives thinly and place on top of prosciutto and orange slices.
Brie, Pistachio and Pomegranate Crostini
Set brie out until it is close to room temperature and then slice it generously. Place the brie on the bread. You want every morsel of bread to have a bit of brie on it.
If you are toasting the pistachios yourself, crack the pistachios and place in a skillet on medium low heat, add a little salt for flavor. Ignore this step if you purchased roasted pistachios ready to eat.
Place the pistachios on the brie - you want ~1 nut per bite.
De-seed the pomegranate and place on brie. Ideally each bite of crostini will have a pistachio and a pop of pomegranate.
Beets, Mozzarella and Fennel Crostini
Rinse your beets and rub off any extra dirt. Wrap in foil and place in the oven at 400 degrees. Cook for ~45 minutes or until tender.
When the beets are cooked, peel and gently slice them as thinly as you can. Set aside to cool.
Chop the fennel and set aside.
Tear or slice the mozz and begin constructing the crostini. Alternate between beets and mozzarella on the bread. Dress with fennel, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. If you like you can also add the fennel fronds for a little color.
Smoked Salmon and Lemon Chive Riccotta
Chop the chives.
Mix the chives, lemon juice, and olive oil into the ricotta. Let this rest for a few minutes before using.
Smear a healthy portion of ricotta onto each slice of bread and top with a slice or two of salmon.