Butternut squash crostini
- a fancy appetizer; grilled bread, creamy cheese, sweet earthy tones of rosemary squash, fennel seeds and crisped sage
by priti malhotra
Makes 12-14 crostinis
2 cups thinly sliced butternut squash (I use the cubed butternut squash available in the produce department of most stores)
Tree nut cheese, or any vegan soft and nutty cheese (I used the TreeLine French style from Whole Foods)
10-12 Sage leaves
1 sprig Rosemary
Pink salt and pepper
Olive oil, for the squash and the bread
1 tablespoon dried fennel seeds lightly toasted
Set the oven to broil.
Slice butternut squash cubes into thin slices and keep aside. Using a mortar and pestle crush the rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon pink salt crystals, and black pepper into a paste.
In a mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the rosemary paste and mix well. Toss the butternut squash slices in the bowl and coat well. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and broil on middle rack for 5 minutes. Each oven is different. Keep an eye on the squash so that it doesn’t burn, but the edges will be slightly charred and the squash will be tender. Remove from oven.
Slice the baguette into thin diagonal slices. Brush with olive oil and broil on the lower rack for about 2 minutes. Flip the slices and put back in the oven for another minute.
Slightly whip the chesse in a bowl with a fork and keep it at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Next fry the sage leaves. To do this, heat a small pan over moderate heat, and add a tablespoon of oil and the sage leaves. They will crisp very quickly. Use a slotted spoon to take them out and let them drain on a paper towel until ready to use.
Now that the components are done, assemble the crostini. Layer with a generous amount of tree nut cheese. Cover well with the squash slices. Top each with a few roasted fennel seeds and finish with the fragrant sage leaf.
The crunchy bread will make a perfect base to this rich, creamy, slightly sweet and herb-packed topping.