When it comes to appetizers, simplicity is sublime. Often the limited number of ingredients combined together creates the most spectacular flavor profiles. My Olive Tapenade Crostinis are a perfect example of this theory. Between the salty, savory tapenade and the smoky flavor from the red pepper along with the sweetness from the reduced balsamic on top of a crunchy carbohydrate – this is heaven in a two bite delight.
Hubby and I attended a holiday party last weekend in San Franciscowhich was rather beige unfortunately, but one that we needed to attend. We had great guests at our table, so the event was several shades more enticing. With any type of mass catering, sometimes the finesse of tasty food is lost in production and as hard as they tried, it was a lack luster attempt. Perhaps because I have such an affinity for food, I am being a bit too critical and I am sure others were thrilled and I am hapy for them. Be that as it may, there was one bright light shining at the event and it was on the appetizer portion of this party – thus my inspiration for this week’s Friday Night Bites. I always try to find the positive in any situation.
My positive was this delightful little two bite Crostini filled with salty tapenade, mozzarella and roasted red bell pepper. I added the reduced balsamic and a garlic rubbed Crostini. This can’t be more simple to make and will WOW your guests. This is a perfect appetizer to bring for any holiday party or enjoy on New Years Eve with a chilled glass of your favorite bubbly. Cheers!
Olive Tapenade Crostini
1 ½ C. Kalamata olives, pitted
3 T. Capers
2 Garlic cloves
1 t. Anchovy paste
1 T. Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 T. Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Baguette + olive oil for brushing + fresh garlic for rubbing each crostini
In a food processor add all of the ingredients, except olive oil and pulse until a course puree. Add the olive oil and pulse again until the mixture is blended.
Small mozzarella balls, cut in half
Roasted Red Pepper Slices
Slice the baguette into thin slices and brush both sides with olive oil. Place onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from oven and rub with a fresh garlic clove, then let cool. Spread each one with the olive tapenade then top with a half of small mozzarella ball and slice of roasted red pepper.
To make the reduced balsamic, add ½ cup of balsamic vinegar to a small skillet and cook on medium heat until reduced and thick. Let cool then drizzle on top of each Crostini.
***Note: This is a loose recipe. The tapenade should make at least 36 crostinis then use 18 mozzarella balls cut in half and purchase the roasted red peppers from the grocery store.