One of the best aspects of Italian food is the simplicity of ingredients in its cuisine. Simplicity is the name of the game in this Italian-inspired appetizer featuring the summer’s ripest figs. Perched on crusty, garlicky crostini with just-melted, creamy buffalo mozzarella, crispy, salty prosciutto and fresh basil leaves, all that is needed is a brush of sweet, runny honey and a good grinding of freshly ground black pepper to finish. The result is a mouthful of complimenting textures and sweet, salty, peppery flavors that might even transport you for a brief moment to the hills of Tuscany.
Crostini with Honey Roasted Figs, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Crisps
Makes approximately 16 crostini
One baguette, sliced diagonally, 1/4″ thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 slices prosciutto
8 green or purple figs, trimmed, sliced lengthwise, about 1/4″ thick
3 tablespoons honey
2 buffalo mozzarellas, drained
Fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Combine olive oil, garlic and salt in a small bowl.
Arrange baguette slices on oven rack. Lightly brush oil over bread. Place bread in oven and bake until edges are golden brown. Turn off heat. Keep bread in oven additional 15 minutes as they continue to harden. Remove from oven and cool on rack.
Crostini can be made up to 4 hours in advance. Store in airtight plastic container at room temperature.
Arrange slices in one layer on non-stick oven tray or parchment paper. Place in preheated 350 F. oven. Bake 15 minutes. Turn off heat, but do not remove prosciutto for another 15 minutes. (The longer the prosciutto remains in the oven, the crispier it will become.) Remove from oven. Break prosciutto slices in half and set aside. Prosciutto can be made up to 4 hours in advance. Store in airtight plastic container and refrigerate. Allow to come to room temperature before assembling crostini.
Preheat oven grill.
Divide each mozzarella in half horizontally. Cut each half into 4 slices. Place one slice on each crostini. Top with one layer of fig slices. Brush figs with honey. Place crostini under oven grill and grill unti figs begin to turn color and cheese begins to melt.
Remove from oven and arrange on serving plate. Top each crostini with a prosciutto crisp and basil leaf. Drizzle with olive oil, grind fresh pepper over and serve immediately.