These grilled crostini 3 ways is fun appetizer for a crowd or main course for weekends when you just don’t feel like cooking a full meal. Paired with some crisp rosé or sangria and you’re all set!
Whether you call it bruschetta, crostini, tartines, or a good ol’ open-faced sandwich, crusty grilled bread rubbed down with fresh garlic and loaded up with a bunch of fun toppings has been, by far, my most favorite meal of this summer. I let the idea of these crostini simmer in my head for a couple of weeks while I got my homemade ricotta cheese figured out and threw them together for a late-ish dinner last week. We both proceeded to stuff our faces with three kinds of these crostini while hovering over the kitchen island – me, still in my workout clothes, I might add. No knives, forks, or chairs needed for this meal.
The running theme through the three varieties was homemade ricotta and oh so thinly sliced, slightly salty prosciutto. And then the three diverged from there. One got roasted tomatoes weeping with a balsamic reduction and some chopped fresh basil. The second included grilled potato slices and fresh thyme (I also mixed fresh thyme into the ricotta cheese for this one).
The third consisted of a shallot-pea puree with a wee bit of fresh mint sprinkled on top for a light burst of freshness. I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite here but we loved each one differently and deeply.
Guys, seriously. You’ve got an easy and fantastic dinner with an endless possibilities of toppings right here. It’s nothing fancy (workout clothes will do) but why not throw a party with these crostini anyway? Wouldn’t that be fun?!
Grilled Crostini 3 Ways
In order to make this a really quick dinner after a busy day, I prepped all of the parts for the crostini in advance except for grilling the potatoes and bread, which only takes a few minutes and can be done at the same time on the grill. The ricotta can be made up to 5 days ahead; the tomatoes, 2 days; balsamic reduction, 1 week; and shallot-pea puree, 3 days.
For the Ricotta, Prosciutto, Roasted Tomato Grilled Crostini:
2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil, chopped
For the Thyme Ricotta, Prosciutto, Grilled Potato Grilled Crostini:
1 ½ tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 small potatoes (any color)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra chopped thyme for garnish
For the Ricotta, Prosciutto, Shallot-Pea Puree Grilled Crostini:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup fresh (shelled) or frozen (thawed) green peas
½ medium shallot, finely diced
1-2 tbsp low-sodium chicken stock
1 loaf crusty bread – ciabatta, French, etc. – thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
2 cups (16 oz) ricotta cheese, homemade or store-bought
Thinly sliced prosciutto
Prep the tomatoes and balsamic reduction: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lay the tomato slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with tiny bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast until they start to brown and caramelize, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until reduced down to a few tablespoons, 5-10 minutes. It should be thickened and syrupy. Watch carefully after 5 minutes – the vinegar can burn easily (trust me). Transfer the vinegar to small bowl and allow it to cool completely before using. Store in an airtight bowl at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Prep the potatoes: Mix the 1 ½ tablespoons thyme with ¾ cup ricotta; set aside. Preheat the grill to high heat. Toss the potato slices with 1 teaspoon canola oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Lay the slices over the grill grates (or use a grill basket) and cook until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Cool slightly before topping the crostini.
Prep the shallot-pea puree: Heat the oil and butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Toss in the shallot and cook until softened, about 7-10 minutes. Add the peas and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peas are bright green and they just begin to pop, about 5 minutes. Cool the mixture for 5 minutes before transferring to a food processor. With the machine running and the feed tube hole open (it’s important to allow the heat to escape), slowly pour the chicken stock in through the feed tube and allow the mixture to puree until almost smooth – it likely won’t be completely smooth and that’s ok. You should have about 1 cup. Refrigerate to cool the puree completely before using, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
To assemble: With the grill on high, brush both sides of the bread slices with canola oil and grill the bread until nicely browned on each side. Immediately rub the garlic over both sides of the bread and lay the bread out on a serving platter. Top each slice with ricotta (don’t forget about the thyme ricotta!) and a slice of prosciutto. Add tomatoes and fresh basil to a few and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Top the ones with the thyme ricotta with the grilled potatoes and some extra thyme. Finally, top the rest with a couple tablespoons of the shallot-pea puree and a little fresh mint. Alternatively, leave all of the toppings in separate bowls and let everyone make their own creations. Enjoy!
Smells Like Home original | balsamic reduction via Pink Parsley
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