These delicious, sophisticated little appetizers only take a few minutes to put together. You can make everything ahead and assemble them just a few minutes before you serve your guests with a nice glass of chilled Prosecco.
I like to make crostini in a very hot skillet with the bread slices smeared with a small amount of good quality mayonnaise – it yields a lovely crisp result. The toasted walnut and olive paste can be made 3 hours to 2 days ahead – just cover it with cling film and let it sit at room temp for the flavors to develop. Any left over will keep in the fridge but bring it to room temp before serving.
You can also make a batch of crostini a couple of days ahead – keep them in an airtight container.
OLIVE & TOASTED WALNUT CROSTINI
(Makes about 1 and 1/3 cups of paste, enough for approx 24 crostini)
1 and 3/4 cups (approx 415 ml measure) of pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and drained
Half a cup (118ml measure) of walnuts, toasted on a baking tray for 9 minutes at 350F/180C
1/4 cup (59ml) of extra-v olive oil
2 teaspoons of wholegrain Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh thyme, oregano and sage
A pinch of cayenne
Put the olives and half of the toasted walnuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times then add the herbs, garlic, olive oil, mustard and cayenne. Pulse again until you have a coarse paste.
Chop the remaining toasted walnuts and fold them into the paste then transfer everything to a bowl, cover and allow it to sit at room temp for a couple of hours for the flavors to develop – or refrigerate for up to 3 days and bring to room temp before serving.
For the crostini – slice a French baguette into 1/4 inch (6.5mm) slices on the diagonal. Lightly smear a little mayonnaise onto each side and toast in a hot skillet until golden on both sides, turning once or twice. Cool to room temp and store them in an airtight container and top with the olive-walnut paste just before you’re ready to serve.
Hosting a cocktail party? here are some lovely fast and fabulous hors d’oeurves that require very little effort to make and are sure to impress: