Recently, two of my lovely friends got engaged, so my roomie and I decided we wanted to treat them to a nice home-cooked meal. Naturally, I got really excited when we began planning the menu! I initially thought we could just make a simple tomato/basil bruschetta for the appetizer, but my mind raced back to these mini goat cheese crostinis I ate at the last Bobby Flay event I went to. I remember mistaking the grapes for chopped red onions and being totally surprised after my first bite (in a good way). Flay is all about texture in his recipes, and he really only uses ingredients you can taste. He always says, if it’s in the recipe, it’s there for a reason. This particular recipe is interesting because it plays on spicy ingredients (like chopped jalapenos and onions) that’s balanced out with the cooling taste of juicy grapes, and of course, all topped on a dense but flavorful herbed goat cheese.
GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI WITH GRAPE SALSA
A Bobby Flay Recipe
Prep Time: 20 Minute(s)
Stand Time: 30 Minute(s)
Cook Time: 8 Minute(s)
WHAT TO GET:
1 cup red grapes, diced
1 cup blue and/or black grapes, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, plus leaves for garnish
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (can also substitute with balsamic vinegar which I did for this!)
4 slices whole grain bread, quartered, OR 1 baguette, thinly sliced into 16 pieces
6 ounces herbed goat cheese, slightly softened
1/3 cup mayo
WHAT TO DO:
1. Combine grapes, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and vinegar in medium bowl. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375°. Arrange bread on large baking sheet in a single layer and bake, turning once, 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove and let cool.
3. Combine goat cheese with mayo in small bowl until smooth. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Evenly spread cheese mixture onto crostinis, then top with grape salsa.
Because we were cooking so many things at once, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the whole process, but it was pretty easy to make (the chopping takes the most time). I also appreciate that it’s not only delicious, but visually appealing as well — it kind of creates its own presentation in a way.
Speaking of presentation, we wanted to transform our living room to feel like they were eating in an intimate little cafe, so we put a sign out the door, had a playlist going, and printed out menus…but we weren’t exactly sure where to entertain them since our small NYC apartment doesn’t actually have a dining table. We ended up putting a table cloth on a coffee table and literally made it a sit-down dinner. It ended up looking so cute with the dim lighting and candles, if I do say so myself :
My cousin, who graciously lent me the festive lighting, called it a little ‘love-lit cocoon’ when she saw the pic. I thought that was kinda cute and a funny way to describe our makeshift dining area. Just an idea how to improvise when you have limited space! The main dish was chicken with mushroom-dijon gravy, which I’ll be posting later, so keep an eye out