Nectarines are beautiful, my favorite of the stone fruit family. Big burgundy baseballs of summer’s bounty. Like fuzz-less peaches with firmer flesh. 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?
Menu Planning and a New Appetizer: Nectarine and Goat Cheese Crostini
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.
To create 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.
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.
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.
Nectarine and Goat Cheese Crostini
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 3 large nectarines
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- a few sprinkles of sea or kosher salt
- 1 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 optional, see notes below
- 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 1/4″ 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.
- 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.
- 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.