My diet seems to always go off-kilter after a vacation. I have a hard time getting back to my normal routine and instead continue to indulge my cravings with little to no regard for balance even after I’ve shaken the travel dust–or in this case the beach sand–off my feet. Since returning from Mexico a little over a week ago all I’ve wanted to eat is carbs–bread, pasta, rice, tortillas–and it hasn’t helped that my office is located very close to eateries that make it hard for me to ignore these cravings.
There’s a ramen place minutes from my office with the most irresistible tonkatsu ramen. And there’s a Chinese restaurant in the other direction that serves Singapore noodles. All I have to do is pick up the phone and five minutes later my takeout is ready for me. The portions are so big that normally one order of noodles will last three meals but last week I barely left enough for a second serving. At home I’ve been snacking on corn tortillas with melted jack cheese and hot sauce and serving pasta or rice for dinner. Then there was the birthday lunch at work; the birthday boy chose a burrito place in San Francisco for the party….so, more heavy food.
Finally, my body must have reached its limit; my tastebuds got overloaded and now I want nothing to do with rich foods for a while. I visited my local farmers market last Sunday and stocked up on my favorite fruits and vegetables so it looks like my diet is ready to get back on track.
With a larder full of fresh market ingredients once again I dreamed up these little crostini for Sunday lunch. Prosciutto from my local deli counter, creamy brie from Marin, fresh arugula and radishes from the farmers market, mint from my garden and jam from the coast. The idea started with the ham, cheese and jam but it wasn’t until I started adding the greens and radish that I became excited.
With taste buds that have been abused for the last week it was so refreshing to enjoy clean flavors again. These crostini are the perfect balance of salty, sweet, peppery and minty. You might think it overkill to include both radishes and arugula here but I assure you that the lively mint and pleasantly sweet jalapeño-tangerine jam (not spicy at all) balance the flavors out quite nicely. Even if you do decide to use just one peppery element don’t skip the mint–I happened to set my eyes on the mint growing outside my kitchen window as I was laying the ingredients on the counter and decided to pick a few leaves and wouldn’t you know, they really did make this appetizer come to life in my mouth.
I enjoyed these little bites so much that when I arrived home from work last night and didn’t find the normal dinner choices appetizing, this ended up being my dinner, too. My taste buds thanked me and you might, too, if you try this recipe.
- (There are no set amounts here. You need just a little bit of each ingredient for each slice of baguette. I’ll give you the amounts I used for each crostino next to each item.)
- 1 French baguette, sliced diagonally
- Brie cheese (one small slice each)
- Jam (use any citrus-based jam, jelly or marmalade, about ½ – 1 teaspoon each baguette slice)
- Fresh Mint leaves (I each)
- Radishes, thinly sliced (1-2 slices each)
- Arugula (few pieces each)
- Prosciutto (you don’t need much, each slice would be good for 2-3 crostini)
- Olive Oil for brushing on baguette slices
- Preheat your oven to 400℉. Brush each baguette slice with a little olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet and put in the oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted.
- Layer the toppings in any order you wish and serve immediately. To serve for company, allow about 4 crostini per person if serving other appetizers.