Recently I wrote about how much I like rustic desserts. Let me clarify that. I like rustic food. What is rustic food? It’s simple, local, seasonal food that makes use of available ingredients. Rustic cooking is a reflection of the countryside. It’s comforting and inviting, and it’s economical.
While crostini may conjure up images of dinner parties, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, they are quite grounded in rustic cooking. Bread that is no longer fresh, is lightly toasted and flavored with olive oil and garlic. The toppings can run the gamut, but are usually fresh, simple and composed with ingredients on hand.
These crostini were created as an impromptu starter for a barbecue this weekend. Day old baguette was efficiently put to use, while the asparagus were fresh from the morning’s farmers market. Pecorino Toscano and a little truffle oil were fished from the refrigerator and were the necessary finishing touches for this rustic and delicious appetizer.
16 baguette slices, cut 1/4″ thick
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon truffle oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shaved mild Pecorino cheese (Pecorino Toscano)
Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C). Rub baguette slices with garlic. Lightly brush with olive oil. Arrange on baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Remove and cool.
Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange in one layer on baking sheet. Roast under oven broiler until bright green and slightly charred but still firm, 3-4 minutes. Remove. When cool enough to handle cut horizontally in thin slices. If stalks are thick, slice in half lengthwise and cut halves in thin slices. Transfer to a bowl and toss asparagus with truffle oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top crostini with asparagus. Top asparagus with pecorino cheese. Serve immediately.