Nectarine and Goat Cheese Crostini

by Sally on August 31, 2012 · 6 comments

in Appetizers & Snacks, Vegetarian Dishes

Nectarines are just beautiful. My favorite of the stone ftuits. Big burgundy baseballs of summer’s bounty. Like fuzz-less peaches with firmer flesh. I’ve discovered they are amazing when roasted. Roasting brings out their sweetness and concentrates their flavor. Here’s an easy, sure to please appetizer with roasted nectarines, goat cheese and chopped pistachios on toasted crostini. Trust me. You’ll love these.

We have good friends who eat with us frequently. They work here during the week, then drive home a few hours up the coast for the weekends. I can’t let them eat restaurant food every night, so they often join us for dinner. They bring great wine, I cook dinner, we catch up on life, and it’s always a great evening. What could be better?

When planning a menu, ideas for the main course, sides, and an occasional dessert seem to just come. What I usually have to think more about is an interesting appetizer. I often turn to crostini – little toasts of bread on which anything smeared and layered is terrific. Since nectarines are at their peak, I turned roasted nectarines into an easy appetizer for our friends.

To create crostini, thinly slice a baguette on the diagonal. Brush with an olive oil-butter-granulated garlic blend (it’s always in my fridge) and bake in a 350 (177 C) oven for a few minutes to crisp. While the crostini are baking, get the nectarines ready to roast.

Halve and pit nectarines, then drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Just a few minutes in a hot oven and the nectarines are soft and luscious. When they are cool enough to handle, cut each half in quarters or thinner depending on their size. Spread crisp crostini with a little soft goat cheese, a nectarine piece, and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and a little fresh thyme.

For over the top taste, drizzle with a Balsamic reduction or good quality Balsamic vinegar.  That’s it. A terrific end-of-summer appetizer that makes the best of beautiful nectarines a new way. Any extra roast nectarines are nice in a salad or added to breakfast oatmeal or yogurt.

 

Nectarine and Goat Cheese Crostini

Roasting nectarines with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt makes them soft and luscious, perfect for topping crisp crostini spread with goat cheese for a summer appetizer. I keep a little jar of the butter-olive oil-garlic mix in the fridge at all times for lot of uses, especially a quick batch of crostini.

Yield: approximately 25 crostini, or about 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 3 large nectarines
  • 1 (15 ml) tablespoon olive oil
  • a few sprinkles of sea or kosher salt
  • 1-14 ounce (400 gram) baguette (preferably whole wheat or multi-grain)
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar reduction (optional but nice flavor)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (177 C) and ready a rimmed baking sheet. A layer of parchment or foil will make it easier for clean-up. Mix the olive oil, melted butter and granulated garlic together and stir. Slice the baguette diagonally about 1/4″ (6 mm) thick. Place the slices on the baking sheet and brush lightly with the olive oil mixture. Bake crostini approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. They will crisp more as they cool.
  2. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Halve the nectarines and remove the pit. Place them cut side down in a small casserole or Pyrex dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn them over to coat, leaving them cut side down. Bake uncovered for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until they can be pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Remove from the oven and cool until they can be handled. Slice each half into four pieces or thinner if desired.
  3. Spread crostini with a little soft goat cheese, top with a piece of roasted nectarine and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. At serving, drizzle with a little Balsamic and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Other Links:

What are nectarines? 

Nectarine and Tomato Chutney...great with roast chicken, and it can be canned for the winter

How to choose and store nectarines and peaches, from the LA TImes Food section.

 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Madonna September 1, 2012 at 11:44 am

Every time I check in on you site I am amazed. This looks delicious.

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2 Amy September 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm

As a frequent conossuer of Sally’s masterpieces, my family and I readily agree she has done it again with this incredible appetizer. This is perfect for all occasions and a sure crowd pleaser!

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3 Shut Up & Cook September 3, 2012 at 11:10 am

These are stunning! And look delicious to boot.

Wish I was there most weeknights to enjoy your fabulous cooking!

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4 Mary@SiftingFocus September 7, 2012 at 1:04 am

Sally, this is a perfect appetizer to take advantage of the end of season nectarines still available at the farmer’s market. I brought some home just the other day. I’ve never tried roasting them. This recipe will give me the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

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5 Sally September 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Thanks Mary! Please let me know how they come out for you.

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6 Daniel November 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

I have made these many times since first finding this recipe, and they are always the talk of the evening. (So much so that the entrée I worked so hard on sometimes gets relegated to the “Oh, and we also had…” category.) I usually put the finished crostini under the broiler for a short stint to slightly toast the pistachios and really soften the cheese. In the colder months, I use nectarines that I canned during the summer, and substitute bleu cheese or gorgonzola for a richer, more complex flavor. I hit them on the serving plate with a splash of FIORE’s 18-year aged traditional balsamic, which is so sweet you could practically drink it from the bottle. Perfection. Many thanks for this crowd-pleaser!

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