Crostinis are so versatile and easy to make. I have made countless different types both savory and sweet. I can’t resist making some version of a crostini at every party. They are the perfect cocktail appetizer and once you make this recipe you will know why.
Before I get to this recipe, I have to tell you there was a time when I used the words crostini and bruschetta interchangeably. To me they meant the same thing (a toasted piece of bread topped with something delicious). Although that is partially true, one day early on in my marriage, as I was so proudly passing around my delicious “bruschetta” appetizers to my guests, my mother-in-law, who is Italian, asked me if I knew the difference between the two. Honestly, it had never occurred to me. I have to share this with you in case someone ever asks you that same question, you’ll be armed with knowledge. So here’s what I found when I looked into the meaning of the two besides the fact that apparently the main difference is the type of bread.
Crostini literally means “little toasts” in Italian. They are thin round slices of toasted bread cut from a small baguette type loaf. They are typically brushed with good quality olive oil and most of the time used as a canape, topped with cheese, tomatoes, all kinds of pesto, olive tapenade…. well you get the idea. My mother-in-law maintains these are best used as croutons for soups and salads. While I love using them for that too, I love to serve them as a bite sized appetizer. Perfect for cocktail parties.
Bruschetta comes from the Italian word bruscare meaning “to roast over coals” Who knew? Not me. The slices are long, thick and cut from a rustic Italian or sourdough loaf. As the original meaning suggests, the bread was grilled over fire which gives it that charred effect for a crunch every bite. Traditionally the bread is rubbed with a raw garlic clove, drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Baguette Loaf
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of red onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4-5 ciliegine (mozzarella balls), small dice
- Coarse sea salt
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
How to make the crostini
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice baguette diagonally into 1 inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet.
- Brush the bread with good quality extra virgin olive oil. Don’t be shy with this..make sure you get it on there all the way up to the edges.
- Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until you see the edges of the bread starting to brown.
- Meanwhile dice the ciliegine, tomatoes and the onions. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
- Squeeze the fresh lemon juice and add to the mix.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine and set aside.
- Allow the crostinis time to cool to the touch and top with the tomato mix.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil.
- For the final touch, drizzle the crostinis with balsamic glaze.
- These are best served room temperature.
- The tomato mix can be made up to 24 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.
- Drizzle the balsamic glaze once you’re ready to serve.
- If you have any left over of the tomato mix, it will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Tomato Mozzarella Crostini
Thin sliced baguette topped with my delicious twist on a pico de gallo salsa
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 18 minutes
- Yield: 10 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 Baguette loaf
- 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red onion (small diced)
- 2–3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 4–5 ciliegine (mozzarella balls) (diced)
- Coarse sea salt to taste
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice baguette diagonally 1 inch thick and place on a baking sheet.
- Brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown and the crostini looks golden and toasty.
- Dice the ciliegine, tomatoes and onions. Place in a small mixing bowl.
- Mince the garlic and add to the mix.
- Squeeze the lemon juice and pour over the mix.
- Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper.
- Stir the mix to combine.
- When the crostinis are cool to the touch, top with the tomato mix and sprinkle of fresh basil.
- For the final touch drizzle the crostinis with balsamic glaze.