What better way to spend an afternoon than cooking up some tasty goodness in the kitchen? Especially when you have some beautiful, fresh ingredients at your disposal courtesy of Trader Joe’s! 😌
One of my absolute favorite side dishes to make is one that you can do just about anything with: the crostini. My love for making crostini runs so deep that I have bestowed myself with the very seriously official title, the Crostini Queen.
The humble baguette is a versatile vessel for an unending variety of toppings. From sweet to savory, crostinis are the underrated king of apps. Because I mean everything is better with carbs, amirite?
Today’s variation on the crostini took advantage of the abundance of farm fresh corn to create a refreshing, summery bite.
- Kernels from 2 ears of corn
- 1 package of mini pearl grape tomatoes (sliced into halves or quarters [I did quarters])
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 4 strips of bacon (julienned into small strips)
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- 4 shallots (chopped)
- 1 fresh baguette
- 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 green onions (white and green part)
What I Did
I don’t always measure things out exactly and kind of just throw things around in the kitchen but here’s what I did to make these crunchy spicy little bites of corny summery goodness:
- Pre-heat oven to BROIL on high. Sliced a fresh baguette (from TJ’s! God bless) into roughly ~3/4 inch slices. I placed the bread slices on a large cookie sheet and toasted the crostini under the broiler for about 2 minutes, flipped them all over, and then broiled for two minutes on the other side to get the crostino nice and toasty and crunchy.
***1a. I will say here that I have burned bread a multitude of times in my 22 years here on planet earth. I have sent a lot of bread to its death and I am sorry about it. Broiling the perfect crostini base is an art form, but it mostly just requires a watchful eye and an attention span at least a little bit longer than mine. Because these suckers can go from 0 to burnt to a crisp real quick. My tactic is to just stare at them with the oven light on and then pounce like a ninja to pull them out the second they’ve achieved crispy browned perfection.
- On medium heat in a large pan lightly coated with extra virgin oil, I cooked my julienned 4 strips of applewood smoked bacon (also from TJ’s bless bless bless) until crispy and bacony and aromatic, making sure to stir to avoid burning.
- I then reduced the heat on the pan to low sautéed my 2 minced cloves of garlic in the same pan with the oil and bacon, then added in my 4 chopped shallots and the kernels from two ears of corn, which I had previously removed from the cob and tossed with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Gave everything a good ole mix around til shallots were translucent and corn was cooked.
- Seasoned to taste using crushed red pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and salt. I like a lot of spice so I tasted continually and added quite a bit of crushed red pepper to give the mixture a kick. Only a couple pinches of salt were necessary since the bacon was so salty to begin with.
- Transferred the topping mixture, including all the bacony juices, from the pan into a large bowl. Topped each crostino individually using a large spoon, and finished off with a crunchy garnish of scallions on each. Voila!
I adapted this recipe from Anne Burrell’s Corn, Bacon, & Chili Crostini recipe, which can be found here if you are interested in her take on this summery crostini. Chef Anne’s recipes have yet to fail me; these turned out amazing!
While I was doing this, my boyfriend casually whipped up a beautiful mushroom truffle risotto based on this recipe from our favorite, Mario Batali. But with truffle oil because trufflez are lyfe. SO FREAKING GOOD. All in all, a tasty day 😋😋