Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
Today: If you're going to make an hors d'oeuvre, make this one.
Of the many pieces of sage advice offered by the late and beautiful Nora Ephron, the one I followed most closely, second only to avoiding garments made of wool, was her prohibition of hors d'oeuvres.
Her reasons were as simple and finite as Elle Woods' laws of hair care: snacks are difficult to juggle with one hand, they fill people up so that they may not fully enjoy the dinner you just slaved over, and, most pressingly, prevent guests from getting as tipsy as you would like during the all-important mingling period of a dinner party.
But I made a recent exception for Toasted Goat Cheese Crostini with Basil and Red Onion Jam. While a tad more challenging than a handful of nuts, these guys are essentially a two-bite deal, no plate required. They look more impressive than their labor would suggest, which is key to all dinner party dishes. And, they are just good.
I love merrill’s suggestion that you cut the goat cheese with waxed dental floss, but I have an even easier answer (can someone cover Amanda’s eyes, please), which is to take your super-clean hands and just pinch out bits of cheese and plop them down on your slices of bread. Then, pop these guys in the oven, go and put on your lipstick on, straighten your place settings a bit and ta-da, they will be done. I am sure you already knew that you could omit the basil leaf and be just fine.
There will be lots of onion jam left, and I suggest you dump it in your next bowl of pasta.
Makes about 30 crostini
For the red onion jam:
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup red wine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
For the crostini:
1 log fresh goat cheese
30-40 small basil leaves, rinsed and dried
Photos by James Ransom