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Mascarpone Crostini with Basil and Roasted Sweet Peppers

Updated on June 28, 2009

More Crostini Ideas

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Sandwiches are my favorite kind of food, my dessert island, last meal on earth choice for sustenance, but if I had to pick a close second I would stay pretty true to my leavened ideals and choose crostini (open faced sandwiches) as my alternate stand in selection.

Crostini are breads covered with toppings that are hearty enough for a light lunch, or if cut more delicately, perfect for a before dinner nibble or appetizer.

Crostini are only as good as the bread that supports them and so for this recipe I heartily recommend searching out a quality white sourdough with a depth of tang. It is worth it – and a good loaf of sourdough will last for a week on the counter, enjoyable all the while (try that with a sad loaf of supermarket imitation ”French or Italian bread” that are all but inedible after a day or so!

Mascarpone Crostini with Basil and Roasted Sweet Peppers

This here is a beauty – the sweetness of the roasted peppers counterbalances the sour of the sourdough and the basil infused mascarpone lends a rich undertone of flavor. This tastes like summer on a plate!

  • Four good sized slices of sourdough (day old or longer is perfect) grilled until slightly toasted on a BBQ, or if necessary, under a broiler. The BBQ grilled bread is definitely superior, with the mottled variations in tastes, ranging from the almost blackened section to the toasty brown to the still white makes for a much more interesting taste sensation.
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • A little balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • About 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese (or substitute ricotta cheese, for a leaner option)
  • A handful of fresh basil – about 15 basil leaves (don’t make this with dried basil…just don’t), julienned (cut into narrow ribbons)
  • 3 or 4 sweet red peppers, blackened, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices (for instructions on how to peel a pepper, see below)
  • Sea salt

Smear enough mascarpone or ricotta across each slice of toasted bread to cover almost completely

Cover each slice of cheese topped bread with enough strips of roasted pepper to cover the cheese almost completely (leave a little of the creamy white showing through though, it looks so nice…)

Top with peppers with a generous sprinkling of the freshly julienne cut basil

Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over each slice of bread (you will want to use about ¼ cup in total) and follow with a slightly scanter drizzle of balsamic (say about 1/8 of a cup in total)

Sprinkle generously with sea salt (you can of course use regular salt here, but the crunch of a fleur de sell sea salt adds an interesting dimension.)

Enjoy!

How to Blacken and Peel Peppers (Roasting peppers)

To peel peppers you must first blacken the skin, and there are a number of ways to do this.

  • If you have a gas hob you can simply crank the gas, and using tongs, hold the pepper over the flames until the skin has all blistered and blackened
  • You can place the peppers on a very hot BBQ, and turn them until they have blistered and blackened all over
  • You can place them under a hot broiler, turning them occasionally, until they have blackened and blistered
  • You can buy a chef’s blowtorch, and quickly flame them blackened. (this one is the most fun!)

You may feel like you are burning the peppers when you see them turning black, but you are in fact only burning the skin, which will be removed, and in heating the skin, you sweeten the flesh inside immeasurably.

Once you have blackened the peppers all over, put them into a paper or plastic bag and close it tightly, and let the peppers cool for a few minutes. This steams the peppers and makes the skin easier to loosen. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scrape off the blackened skin, and then cut as directed.

You may be tempted to hold the peppers under running water to rinse of any remaining little blackened bits. DO NOT DO THIS! By rinsing the flesh you will wash away lots of tasty stuff.

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    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Yum yum!

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      9 years ago

      Hi Irohner, Roasted jarred peppers are one of the few canned foods that taste pretty much as good as the homemade version - Feel no shame in this timesaving step!

      Thanks for the comment

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 

      9 years ago from USA

      Delicious! I actually make this dish quite often, but I take the easy way out and use roasted peppers from the jar. :(

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