Caramelized Goat Cheese Crostini (a.k.a. The Compromise)
There’s an almost sacred Sunday tradition in my family’s household where once 3 o’clock rolls around, nothing productive is allowed to happen. No more errands are to be run, phones are ignored, cleaning is absolutely out of the question, and comfortable pajamas are the only acceptable attire.
The evening’s activities usually revolve around eating something special, perhaps a drink, and either a family movie or board game. The food needs to be unlikely to leave a mess if eaten in front of a TV, the drink doesn’t have to be alcoholic but tends to be, and the only thing certain about what movie we’re going to watch or the game we’ll play is that our son will never agree with what we suggest.
Although this family ritual is usually fun-filled and something to look forward to, it frequently ends up being the cause of a fair amount of dissension and controversy. Supposing I might want to play Settlers of Catan, my son will of course want to set up Ticket to Ride. My husband will suggest we watch the next movie in our James Bond marathon, but our son will be adamant that we have to watch Mr.Bean. It never fails that when I feel like putting together an antipasto board full of meats, cheeses, bread, and pickley things, my son will find fault with each element then dramatically lament my inability to foresee his strong desire for sushi that night.
Tears are shed, eyes are rolled, compromises are agreed upon, and promises for future Sundays are made. This is our Sunday routine… and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The Caramelized Goat Cheese Crostini was born out of the necessity to compromise. My husband prefers a meatier snack, my son craves bready-cheesy things, and I care more about the harmony of flavors and uniqueness of any given dish. Tying to balance all of these elements is enough to drive a person mad!
I was first introduced to the idea of this particular crostini in the Pintxo chapter of Basque Country. The addicting little pintxo (that’s the Basque version of tapas pronounced “peen-cho”) made its first appearance in a meal plan quite a few months ago. I loved the somewhat oozy caramelized goat cheese, its simplicity, and how fancy they appeared. Although Marti Buckley’s recipe is spot on, changes had to be made to make the recipe more Walla Walla accessible, more in line with my preference for a bit of heat, and most importantly, worthy of my son’s discriminating palate.
So here you have it… the meaty, bready, cheesy, kinda spicy compromise crostini. It’s the only thing we can all agree on whenever Sunday rolls around and I’ll take whatever conflict-free victories I can get!
Caramelized Goat Cheese Crostini
1 soft baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
Red pepper jelly
6 ounces semi-hard goat cheese, sliced into 12 equal pieces
6-8 ounces Serrano ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced
Sweet pickled jalapenos, for garnish (optional)
Turn the oven to broil. Toast the baguette slices until golden on both sides. Remove from the oven and let cool before spreading a little pepper jelly on one side of each slice (about 1 teaspoon).
Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange the goat cheese in a single layer. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on each one (about 1/2 teaspoon). Broil until browned and the cheese is just beginning to ooze.
To assemble the crostini, transfer a piece of cheese to each bread slice. Thread a slice of ham in an “S” shape onto a short skewer then stab the skewer on top of each crostini (if you don’t care about looks, you can just lay the ham on top). Garnish with a pickled jalapeno slice if desired.
NOTES: Any semi-hard cheese will work fine as long as it's fairly mild such as gouda, havarti, or manchego. Goat cheese is my favorite though!
Recipe inspired by Spanish Ham, Goat Cheese, and Sun-dried Tomato Pintxo from Basque Country
If you live in the Walla Walla area, we have a ton of great places to pick up everything you’ll need for these crostini.
For the cheese and meat, a great place to get both is at Cugini Italian Imports plus they typically have baguettes in the freezer for an almost one-stop shop.
Of course these aren’t the only options in our wonderful town, please feel free to contact me with your suggestions and favorite places to go in Walla Walla to grab specialty ingredients like these!