Spring is the best time to celebrate being outside. People are stir crazy from winter and itching to breathe fresh air and enjoy the arrival of seasonal produce. This is the time of year to host an outdoor gathering. And these asparagus crostini are the perfect appetizer.
I don’t know about you but when I have company over for a casual gathering I want to keep things as simple as possible. I don’t want to make fancy food or have to run in and out of the kitchen constantly. My preference is for finger food that is beautiful to look at and has a lot of flavor in each bite. To achieve that effect with this recipe, I toss steamed asparagus in lemon juice mixed with good quality olive oil and then lay it on top of goat cheese that I’ve mixed with fresh herbs. I used basil and chives, but feel free to use what you have on hand or experiment. Thyme, rosemary, mint and parsley would also work well here.
Some people like to peel their asparagus before steaming it; that is entirely optional here. This appetizer is delicious served at room temperature and you can prep all of the ingredients well in advance. It doesn’t get any easier.
Asparagus and Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini
Yields: 30-40 crostini
Notes: Try experimenting with various fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, mint or parsley.
- 1 cup chevre goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (plus more as needed for crostini)
- 1 baguette, sliced on a bias
- 2 bunches thin asparagus, tough ends removed
- 3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed for crostini)
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the goat cheese, chives, basil and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste). Mix well and allow the flavors to mingle, preferably for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a bit of olive oil onto the baguette slices and sprinkle salt on top. Toast in the oven until crisp, 5-10 minutes.
- Slice the asparagus in half or into thirds (whichever will best cover the crostini slices) and steam until tender.
- Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Toss the steamed asparagus with the mixture and then briefly drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Spread the herbed goat cheese onto each baguette (if it’s difficult to spread, microwave the cheese for 10 seconds to soften). Top each crostini with 3-4 slices of asparagus.
Photo credit: Jennifer Farley