Crostini with Burrata, Hazelnuts, Crispy Sage & Honey
After a long, hard week at work, Patrick and I had a leisurely (albeit late-night) meal at SPQR last Friday. I’d been wanting to try this place for a while, and was excited that we snagged a seat at the bar without a reservation. All-in-all, the meal was (unfortunately) just ok. There were some highs, but enough lows that I walked away feeling only so-so about the meal. But one of the better things that we ate was the “california burrata crostino chili, blackberry honey, hazelnut & fried herbs.” It was simple and delicious. The only problem? It was $8. For one crostino. Really? I thought to myself: I could make dozens of these for $8.
Fast forward to Saturday. We slept in, had a late breakfast, went on a long trip to one of our favorite dog parks, and (before we knew it) late afternoon had arrived. And we hadn’t even had lunch yet. We had dinner reservations with friends, so we weren’t in the mood for a big meal. It was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making that “burrata crostino” from the night before. A little appetizer/snack before a night out on the town. Only I would be making crostini (i.e., plural) instead of just one crostino. And it would cost me a whole lot less.
So we jetted over to our neighborhood market, and grabbed our ingredients. A rustic baguette. Fresh burrata—an absolutely delicious soft cheese made from mozzarella and cream. Local honey from a rooftop hive in our neighborhood. Yes. Really. Apparently we have beekeeper neighbors in the Mission. Who knew?
I already had hazelnuts at home, and we grow sage in our own rooftop herb garden. So we were good to go.
We scurried home before it started raining (again). The crostini came together in a flash. Soon we were enjoying these on the couch with a delicious, spiced holiday ale . And let me tell you—our crostini were as just good as the crostino from the night before, only they cost a whole lot less. The perfect start to a Saturday night.
CROSTINI WITH BURRATA, HAZELNUTS, SAGE & HONEY
I love that this recipe could be adapted in a number of ways. Try it with gorgonzola and walnuts or pecans, or brie with pecans or almonds. Also, you could try other fresh herbs in place of the crispy sage (chives, parsley etc.) . Maybe next weekend…
1 container fresh burrata cheese
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1 rustic baguette
Fresh sage, about 20 leaves
Fine grain sea salt and pepper
Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices.
Toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan over medium-high heat, until fragrant and the skins begin to look a little roasted, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once they’ve cooled off a bit, use a kitchen towel to rub off the loose skins. Can’t get all the skins off? Me neither. Just rub off the loose skin that you can, and don’t sweat it if some are left on there. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts (see photos).
Heat a 1/4 cup of olive oil in the same frying pan. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the sage leaves, and fry until they crisp up, about 2 minutes. Remove the sage with a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels.
Pour all but 1 teaspoon of the remaining olive oil in the frying pan into a small bowl and, using a pastry brush, lightly brush the baguette slices with the reserved olive oil. Over medium high heat, lightly toast the baguette slices in the same frying pan, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan, and place on a large cutting board.
Now you’re ready to assemble the crostini. Spread each toast with about 1 tablespoon of the fresh burrata. Top each with a small pinch of sea salt, one grind of pepper, a couple leaves of crispy sage, and the hazelnuts. Drizzle all the crostini with honey. Arrange on a platter and enjoy. We sure did.