It’s summer, which means entertaining season and barbecues and more, right? Except some of us are still boycotting our oven. Did I mention that we’re expected to break yet another heat record in Chicago today? And the heat index will be around 110? I’m all in favor of entertaining, but I’m going to minimize what I do to increase heat in my house. Instead, I’m offering up appetizers that don’t require cooking, and we’re using the grill for as much as possible.
This time? It’s all French – goat cheese and tapenade crostini. It’s crunchy and salty and cool and just overall yummy. Best of all, it’s a snap to prepare and it doesn’t require the oven.
So wait, what is tapenade anyway? Basically, it’s olives chopped up with other ingredients to make something like a paste. There are all sorts of different ones, but I love this one paired with the goat cheese. Tapenades are great on bread anytime. This one has garlic in it, but if it doesn’t, I’m a fan of scraping the crostini lightly with garlic to give it a little more kick. It may not be the prettiest, but it’s awfully yummy!
Goat Cheese and Tapenade Crostini
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 T capers
1 t anchovy paste (trust me on this one)
1 T parsley (fresh – dried doesn’t work as well here, but if you have to, use 1 t instead and let it sit for several hours before you serve it), chopped
1/4 c olive oil divided
1 c kalamata and good quality green olives, pitted (total of 1 cup)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 baguette – though Italian will work in a pinch
4 oz goat cheese
Turn on your grill – remember, we don’t want to heat up the house. If it’s cooler, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350. Slice the bread about a half inch thick diagonally to make pretty slices. Place them on a jelly roll tray (to keep them from sliding off – or is that just my issue?) and brush each side lightly with olive oil. Season the bread with salt and pepper. Place the bread on the grill (or in the oven) until it is just barely golden brown. This will take ten or so minutes, so keep an eye on it.
While the crostini are toasting, go ahead and make the tapenade. Pull out your food processor, and toss in the garlic while it’s running. Once it’s minced, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, anchovy paste, olives, and 2 T of the olive oil. Process until you have a semi smooth paste. Add the parsley and pepper, and either stir to mix or gently pulse to incorporate it. Taste it to see if it needs more pepper (you don’t need to add any salt!) and adjust as needed.
While the bread is still warm (because you can totally make the tapenade in way less time than it takes the crostini to toast), spread goat cheese atop each slice so that it is covered. Place the tapenade atop the goat cheese and gently press to have it adhere just a little bit.
Serve immediately, and watch them disappear. Tell me these don’t look super fancy and unique, but they are so easy to make, no?