Build A Crostini-Rootini Bar
At the peak of entertaining season, when the edibles seem endless, distinguish your fête fare by engaging your eaters in a build-it-yourself Crostini-Rootini Bar.
Crostino is Italian for “little crust” and the eponymous appetizer has traditionally been crafted of thin slices of toasted or grilled bread (though these little crusts can be rooted out for extraordinary results) that can be dressed with an assortment of spreads, toppings and garnishes.
While simple in concept—a base with toppings—the possibilities for expressing culinary gumption are glorious! The set-up is simple, and you can get as creative as you like. Following are a few basic guidelines upon which you can build the most talked about bites-of-the-season experience.
Step 1: Choose Your Bases
If you want to keep it classic, then nothing beats a baguette, sliced and toasted. That said, there is room for interpretation. (They don’t call it the culinary arts for nothing). And if you prefer to brazenly push the envelope, go the rootini route. What roots add – a twist to texture and taste – is as significant as what they don’t add – gluten.
- TJ’s Brioche Toasts
- TJ’s Multigrain Pita Crackers
- TJ’s Baguettes
- TJ’s Beets
- TJ’s Parsnips
- TJ’s Organic Carrots
- Peel, slice and use root vegetables raw, or try them crisped in the microwave: Get the Recipe!
Step 2: Choose Your Spreads
The spread can make the spread. While it is savvy to have at least one savory option and one sweet option, it’s suitable to have a wide range of soft, spreadable offerings from which to choose. While you are welcome to make your own, there is a wealth of really interesting and delicious ready-made, ready-to-serve options at Trader Joe’s. (We value the convenience.)
- TJ’s Pesto
- TJ’s Bruschetta Sauce
- TJ’s Mustard Miscellany
- TJ’s Olive Tapenade
- TJ’s Pub Cheese with Jalapenos
- TJ’s Mediterranean Hummus
- TJ’s Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant & Garlic
- TJ’s Honey Walnut Fig Cream Cheese
- TJ’s Cocoa Mascarpone
- TJ’s Ricotta
- TJ’s Quince Paste
- TJ’s Fig Butter
- TJ’s Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly
Step 3: Choose your Toppings
This choose-your-own-culinary-adventure starts to really explode with creativity now. The toppings tantalize with complementary or contrasting taste, texture, color... Set out a vivid selection of toppings (5-7 should keep things interesting) to stimulate fun food pairings. Arrange each individual item (sliced or chopped for ideal usage, if needed) in separate bowls with serving spoons. To encourage the shy or lazy, set-out a few tried-and-true combinations (see Step 5).
- TJ's Manchego
- TJ's Unexpected Cheddar
- TJ's Creamy Gorg (seasonal)
- TJ's Salami
- TJ's Mortadella
- TJ's Beef Sirloin Roast
- TJ's Blueberries
- TJ's Strawberries
- TJ's Radishes
- TJ's Roasted Corn
- TJ's Arugula
Step 4: Choose Your Garnish
Garnishes should appealing to the eye and complement the experience of the crostini. No need to go overboard with the finishing flourishes – offer a balanced selection (3-4) of spices, herbs, greens, glazes, oils, etc. for best results.
- Spices: TJ's Fleur de Sel, TJ's Chili Flakes, TJ's Cinnamon
- Nuts: TJ's Pine Nuts, TJ's Sweet & Spicy Pecans, TJ's Sliced Almonds
- Herbs: TJ's Cilantro, TJ's Chives, TJ's Dill, TJ's Basil, TJ's Thyme
- TJ's Balsamic Glaze
- TJ's Single Varietal Sicilian Olive Oil
- TJ's Honey Collection
Step 5: Create Examples
1) The Carrot Cake
TJ's Organic Whole Carrots + TJ's Honey Walnut Fig Cream Cheese + TJ's Raisins + TJ's Ground Cinnamon
2) The Snappy Sirloin
TJ's Parsnips + TJ's Beef Sirloin Roast + TJ's Whole Grain Dijon Mustard + TJ's Chives
3) The GORG-ous Beet
TJ's Organic Beets + TJ's Creamy Gorg + TJ's Organic Arugula + TJ's Sweet & Spicy Pecans
4) The Figgy Crunch
TJ's Brioche Toasts + TJ's Fig Butter + TJ's Isle of Arran Cheddar Cheese + TJ's Honey Crisp Apples + TJ's Glaze
5) The Strawberry Cheese Crisp
TJ's Multigrain Pita Bite Crackers + TJ's Le Delice de Bourgogone Triple Cream Soft Ripened Cheese + TJ's Strawberries + TJ's Thyme
Step 6: Serve With Style
The Perfect Pairing: Prosecco!