At least this is where my mind wanders to when I hear words like “crostini” and “canapes”.
Does this really have to be the case though? Can’t we just eat fancy, without having to be fancy? Maybe even get some elegant flavor from humble ingredients?
I say yes!
I will still take some Louboutins though… if someone is just handing them out (maybe these? or these?).
No? Ok, back to reality.
A delicious reality. And a simple one, too. One where we take common ingredients like garlic and fennel, and bring them to a whole other level of flavor simply by roasting them. Then combine them with a can of white beans, a touch of rosemary, and lemon juice.
At this point, you could eat it straight out of the food processor, in your pajamas, while watching The Chew. No judgement here.
Or, you could dollop it on some crostini, garnish with a fennel frond, and serve them up at a fancy food, non-fancy attire cocktail party like we did over the weekend.
Then, you eat the leftovers the next morning in your pajamas while watching The Chew. If I wasn’t having the party, I would’ve just skipped the whole crostini thing… and then there would’ve been a food processor in my lap. If you’re going to go this route, might I recommend those new Roasted Tomato Kettle Chips for dipping? Unbelievable.
By the way, I feel like I should mention that I murdered my fry thermometer at said cocktail party. There was a saga involving onion rings that needed some serious batter adjustment, so by the time I finally got a successful batch I was so excited to sit down and eat some that I kind of left the pot of oil on the stove with the burner on pretty high. I returned to a kitchen filled with smoke and a fry thermometer that had exploded in the extreme temperatures of the oil.
It’s not a party until you nearly kill all your guests, right? RIGHT?! Well, at least that one batch tasted really good.
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is whether you’re eating it in your pajamas with chips or at a semi-fancy, nearly-murderous cocktail party on crostini, this dip/spread is delicious!
ROASTED FENNEL, GARLIC & WHITE BEAN CROSTINI
This recipe is for crostini, but the fennel mixture also makes a great hearty dip for chips, pita bread, crackers, pretzels, etc.
extra virgin olive oil
1 whole head garlic, top 1/2 inch cut off
2 medium fennel bulbs, quartered, root cut out (reserve fronds for garnish)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for roasting
freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, for crostini
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the garlic in a piece of foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Seal the foil. Place the fennel quarters on the same baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning the fennel once or twice, until well caramelized.
Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin and into a food processor. Add the fennel, beans, rosemary, lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Process until well combined, but not a completely smooth puree.
Lower the oven to 350 degrees F. To prepare the crostini, cut a baguette into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the bread is a light golden brown.
Right before serving, put about a tablespoon of the fennel mixture on each crostini. Garnish with a fennel frond.
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