Nectarines are my favorite of the stone fruit family. Big burgundy baseballs of summer’s bounty. I’ve discovered they are amazing roasted. Roasting brings out their sweetness and concentrates their flavor. Here’s an easy, sure to please: nectarine and goat cheese crostini. Trust me. You’ll love these.
On Cooking, Life and Friends
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 like pieces to a puzzle. Figuring out an an interesting appetizer takes more thought. 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.
How to Make Crostini
To make crostini, thinly slice a baguette on the diagonal. Brush with an olive oil-butter-granulated garlic blend and bake in a 350°F oven for a few minutes to crisp. While the crostini are baking, get the nectarines ready to roast.
To make it easier, use a small serrated knife (called a tomato knife and great for slicing tomatoes too) like this, or a larger serrated bread knife.
My Olive Oil-Butter-Garlic Blend
That olive oil garlic blend is something I created decades ago and use for just about everything. Make crostini, spread on toasted for beneath poached eggs, make garlic toast, drizzle like a sauce. There's always a little pot in my fridge, waiting to be meted and used again.
Simply combine equal amounts or melted unsalted butter, olive oil and a little granulated or powdered garlic and stir. I don't have exact measurements.
Roast the Nectarines
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. A terrific end-of-summer appetizer that makes the best of beautiful nectarines in a new way. Any extra roast nectarines are nice in a salad or added to breakfast oatmeal or yogurt, or over ice cream.
Homemade Balsamic Reduction (Syrup)
To make your own Balsamic reduction, try this recipe, You can also buy it at many stores, even Trader Joes. Look near where the vinegar is stocked.
For another wonderful recipe using nectarines, try my nectarine tomato chutney. It's great spread on this goat cheese crostini as well.
Crostini with Goat Cheese and Roasted Nectarines
- Rimmed baking sheet for crostini
- Casserole to roast nectarines
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 3 large nectarines
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- ½ long baguette preferably whole wheat or multi-grain
- 6 ounces goat cheese room temperature
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Balsamic vinegar reduction or syrup optional, see notes below
Bake the Crostini
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil for easier clean-up. Mix the olive oil, melted butter and granulated garlic together and stir. Slice the baguette diagonally about ¼″ 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.
Roast the Nectarines
- 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.
Assemble the Appetizer
- 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.
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!
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.
Thanks Mary! Please let me know how they come out for you.
Shut Up & Cook says
These are stunning! And look delicious to boot.
Wish I was there most weeknights to enjoy your fabulous cooking!
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!
Every time I check in on you site I am amazed. This looks delicious.