Author Notes: This is my new favorite crostini. Roasting the broccoli rabe at high heat makes it tender and shatteringly crisp around the edges, and tames its bitterness into an almost nutty-sweetness. Its flavor and texture pair beautifully with roasted sweet potatoes and creamy ricotta smeared over crusty bread. The garlic-chile-rosemary infused olive oil ties all of the components together. It’s great for a light lunch or as an appetizer for a fall or winter dinner party. —EmilyC
Makes: 8 crostini
1 bunch broccoli rabe -- thick, tough lower ends of stalks removed (often requires cutting off a good 3 inches or so)
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
½ cup olive oil + additional for roasting vegetables
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
2 leafy sprigs of rosemary (each about 6-inches long)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ to ¾ cup whole milk ricotta
8 thin slices of good crusty bread
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- TO ROAST VEGETABLES: Rinse the broccoli rabe but leave some water clinging to the leaves. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the rabe with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Use enough olive oil to uniformly coat the leaves and stems. Lay the broccoli rabe out in even layer, and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the rabe is tender and the leaves are crispy and lightly charred around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. (You don’t want to stack the broccoli rabe while it’s still hot because it’ll lose its crisp, papery texture.) Coarsely chop the broccoli rabe into bite-size pieces.
- On another rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Distribute the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. (You can start roasting your sweet potatoes with the broccoli rabe, then after removing the rabe, lower the temperature to 400 degrees F.)
- TO MAKE GARLIC-CHILI-ROSEMARY OIL: While the vegetables are roasting, combine ½ cup olive oil, rosemary, chili flakes, and garlic cloves in a small saucepan. Over low heat, warm the olive oil for about 10 minutes, taking care to not let the garlic color. You should hear the garlic slightly sizzle but the oil shouldn’t bubble. Remove from heat and set aside.
- TO TOAST BREAD: Lightly brush each slice of bread with the garlic-chili-rosemary oil. Toast in a 400 degree F oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until crusty but still soft in the middle.
- TO ASSEMBLE CROSTINI: Add a few teaspoons of the garlic-chili-rosemary oil to the ricotta to loosen it, then spread it in an even layer on each slice of toasted bread. Top with the broccoli rabe and sweet potatoes, then drizzle a little more oil over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Save any remaining rabe, sweet potatoes, and garlic-chili-rosemary oil -- mix 'em up for a salad, or add them to some grains for a great brown bag lunch.)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Hors d'Oeuvre