Part of my warm-weather entertaining manifesto is to keep my gatherings as simple as possible. This encompasses everything from table décor to beverages, and most importantly, food. We host several dinners and social soirées in the spring and summer months, and I’m always on the look out for easy-to-execute lip-smacking appetizers that deliver impressive tastes to my guests. Luckily, these tartines fit the bill perfectly.
While the name sounds highly impressive, tartines (or crostinis) are really nothing more than slices of toasted/grilled bread topped with a little something. It can be as simple as store-bought jam and a slice of aged cheddar, assorted spreads, cured meats, or fresh produce that’s paired with fragrant herbs and oils.
I typically opt for the latter, and they are almost always the highlight of the meal. Lightly buttered bread is usually grilled, rubbed with garlic and then covered with a variety of toppings. For spring, I’m smitten with the combination of sweet peas, Parmesan and mint, but you can use pretty much anything that’s in season.
Some of the other flavor combinations that I’m partial to include:
- Chopped ripe avocado dressed up with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, sea salt, olive oil, and red pepper flakes.
- Sweet tomatoes tossed with olive oil, fresh basil and baby bocconcini cheese.
- A smear of goat cheese blanketed with roasted mushrooms and fresh chopped tarragon.
- Soft unsalted butter topped with crisp radish slices, sea salt, and a sprinkling of chives.
- Slow roasted cherry tomatoes, with fresh ricotta.
There is no real recipe for the ideas I’ve listed above; just use what you have on hand and adjust the seasonings to taste.
I’m a collector of back-pocket recipe ideas, the ones I can turn to time again for inspiration and success, and this one is currently sitting within easy reach. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a platter of these just for dinner, date-night, or even an easy lunch, in addition to serving them with a glass of sangria for my favorite visitors in the coming months.
|Sweet Pea, Parmesan and Mint Tartines||
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/4” slices
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 2 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
- 1/3 cup olive oil + extra for brushing the bread
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 mint leaves, torn
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of your bread slices with the olive oil and cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the bread to a cutting board and rub each piece with the cut sides of the garlic.
- Blanch peas in a pot of boiling salted water, just until tender, approximately 1 minute for frozen peas and 2 minutes for fresh. Drain well.
- Transfer the peas to the bowl of a food processor and add the olive oil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and mint leaves. Pulse until the purée reaches the desired consistency. For a chunkier spread it will only need five or six turns in the processor, for a smoother one 10-12 pulses should be enough.
- Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the pea purée over each toast. Garnish with additional Parmesan, torn mint leaves, and sea salt, if desired.
What are your go-to appetizers for warm-weather entertaining??