I’ve had the idea for strawberry and goat cheese crostini with a balsamic reduction rattling around my head for at least a month – maybe even two. Last weekend, I finally made time to try out the recipe. I should have gotten on top of this sooner.
With strawberries only in season for a little while longer, I would strongly recommend you do the same, because these crostini are delicious.
Pretty enough for entertaining, these are well suited to dining al fresco. The crostini, balsamic reduction, sliced strawberries and toasted almonds can all be prepared in advance. Can’t you just picture them with a glass of white wine on your patio?
This dish would also be perfect at a BBQ. You could even bring the components to someone else’s house and assemble them there if you like. If you’ve never made a balsamic reduction before, it probably sounds pretty difficult, but it is one of those things I call a fancy fake-out. Making a balsamic reduction just involves boiling the vinegar until it has the consistency of a syrup. That’s it. Really.
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Crostini with a Balsamic Drizzle
- 1/2 a baguette
- 3-4 tbsp. goat cheese
- 1/2 c. sliced strawberries
- 2 tbsp. sliced almonds
- 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Pour 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar into a pan and heat it over high. When it begins to bubble, lower the heat and let it simmer away. Swirl the pan every now, and then, to make it look like you’re doing something. It will take awhile (10 minutes or so) to reduce, but keep an eye on it.
While the balsamic vinegar is reducing, heat a dry pan over medium low heat. When it gets hot, add the sliced almonds. Toast for a few minutes. As soon as you can smell the nuts, pull them off the heat. They’re ready to go.
When your vinegar has reduced to at least half its size, start testing it with a spoon. My mixture ended up being a third of its original size before it was ready. You’re looking for a syrup texture that coats your spoon as shown below. When you have it, remove the pan from the heat.
Slice your baguette into 1/4 inch rounds. (I made mine about 1/2 an inch, but if I could go back, I would have made these thinner, so that’s why mine look so much thicker than my recommendation.) Also, slice your strawberries and set aside. These steps can happen as your vinegar reduces.
When the syrup is ready, heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Brush one side of your crostini rounds with olive oil. Put the oiled side down on the grill. Now, add oil to the side that is facing up. After a few minutes, when the bread is toasted, flip it. Grill for another minute or two until this side is golden as well. Remove the bread from the grill and place each piece on your serving platter.
Spread goat cheese on each crostini. Watch out for little fingers trying goat cheese.
Add freshly cracked black pepper. Then, layer on the strawberries. Sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Enjoy!