If you’re having friends over it’s fun to create bite-size appetizers that you need little more than a napkin to support. Consider making bruschetta on a baguette and or branch out with other toppings.
Here are three simple toppings for grilled or toasted baguette slices. Larger slices of French bread can work, but the baguettes accommodate a 2 to 3 bite appetizer.
It’s optional to blanch Roma tomatoes ahead of time to remove the skins or simply use them with the skins on. Chop the tomatoes into half inch size dice and mix in a tablespoon or two of good olive oil. To this, add a quarter of a cup of fresh basil that’s been cut chiffonade style (finely sliced long ways). Use a microplane grater to finely grate 1 medium-sized clove of garlic and a quarter of a cup of minced onion. Mix this together with some salt and pepper and serve on grilled or toasted baguette slices. It’s best to serve this slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Mushrooms Swiss Topping
Another great topping is a fricassee of mushrooms and walnuts topped with cheese. This works really well in a cast-iron skillet as a one pot dish. Slice up a half pound of mushrooms into bite-size pieces and sauté in some butter with a quarter cup of chopped onions. As soon as the mushrooms release their water add in a third of a cup of chopped walnuts. Sauté for another 2 min. and mix in 1 tablespoon of chopped sage and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper. Top with a half a cup of shredded Swiss cheese and place in a heated 400°F oven just until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Scoop out the topping and place on grilled baguette slices.
Fresh Mint and Pea Purée with Mozzarella Cheese
This works best with fresh peas, but frozen peas can be used if you rinse them in cold water until they’re just thawed. Add 1 cup of peas to a food processor along with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, one small minced garlic clove, 5 to 10 torn mint leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until smooth and add a little water if it’s too chunky. Top grilled or toasted baguette slices with a dollop of the pea purée and add a torn chunk of fresh mozzarella on top. This can also be dressed with fresh pea shoots and high-quality olive oil.
These are just three great toppings for baguette slices either as an appetizer or antipasto course.