Italian cooking is simply brilliant in its understanding of how tastes work together. A simple starter course, crostini creates a symphony of flavors that burst on the tongue, making us weak with pleasure. Sweet, savory, satisfying, with just a hint of bitter to lift the flavors to our palates--and our spirits to food heaven. And did I mention the lycopene for reproductive health?
Makes 6-7 servings
1 whole grain baguette, 1/2-inch diagonal slices
extra virgin olive oil
6-7 cups fresh arugula, rinsed very well, stems trimmed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained well, coarsely chopped
½ cup walnut pieces, lightly pan toasted, coarsely chopped
4-5 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced
Preheat oven to 375o and line a baking sheet with parchment. Lightly brush both sides of baguette slices with oil and arrange on baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake until crisp and lightly browned at the edges, about 12 minutes.
Towel dry and hand shred the arugula. Do not cut, as it can take on a metallic aftertaste.
Place a small amount of oil, red pepper flakes and tomatoes in a skillet and turn heat to medium. When the tomatoes begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Add the walnut pieces, shredded arugula, season lightly with salt and stir until the arugula just wilts. Do not overcook the greens.
Spoon cooked vegetables onto the bread slices and serve immediately.
Cook’s Tip: To pan toast walnuts, simply heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook the walnut pieces, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3-5 minutes.