How to make Crostini-Asparagus and Tomato
Asparagus and Tomato Crostini that is toasted lightly with garlic-infused olive oil and topped with fresh constellation or cherry tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, mozzarella cheese, parsley, and a sweet balsamic glaze.
Isn’t crostini the same thing as bruschetta?
Ahhhhh, the age old debate! Here are a few differences between the two.
- It all comes down to the bread, really. Bruschetta is normally made with Italian bread which is more loosely structured. The bread is drenched in olive oil and traditionally topped with a garlic and tomato mixture.
- Crostini uses bread that is more tightly structured. The most common and readily available bread used for crostini is a baguette. Crostinis are usually served with a topping that would also be called an appetizer or a canape. The bread is usually toasted or fried without the use of oil.
- Yes, I have combined the two and oiled my crostini as you would bruschetta. Oh no! Why? Because cooking is fun and I love the sweetness that olive oil brings to the bread as well as not having to use a heavy creamed spread to make an appetizing bite. Don’t get me wrong, I love a creamy cheesy spread but that is not what I was going for in this particular recipe.
So, how exactly do I make crostini?
Heres the fun part you guys, you can make crostini any old way you desire! If you start with a baguette, slice it in small rounds for a canape or at a diagonal for a larger appetizer type of bite.
As you can see below, I’ve chosen to slice my baguette on a diagonal. Slicing 1/2″ slices resulted in 20 individual crostini pieces. Let me tell you, they did not last long. It’s funny to me when this happens. I create something I think that only I will like and it turns out the whole family enjoyed them. That’s a comic win in my book!
Once your baguette is sliced and ready to roll, line them on a sheet pan and get ready to brush on the olive oil.
Prep Tip: Mix your olive oil and garlic in a bowl before you do anything else. This gives it time to infuse and marry a bit before you are ready to brush it on your crostini. Also, get your pan heated and ready for the asparagus! You can also save additional time by slicing your tomatoes and have them ready when your toast comes out of the oven.
Once you have brushed on all of the garlic infused olive oil, turn on your broiler, or crank your oven to 500 degrees, and toast for two to two and a half minutes.
It does not take long for these to crisp and the edges to burn so make this quick and try not to take your eye too far away from them.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Saving time in the kitchen is always a plus! Especially if you can still produce the same results as if you did the cooking all in one fail swoop. The quick answer is “yes” you can make these ahead of time. Here’s how:
Make your crostini up to the point of toasting them in the broiler the first time. Once they have cooled, store them in an air-tight container and I personally would put them in the refrigerator. I worry about olive oil turning rancid and as a precaution, this is how I would proceed.
Serving crostini made ahead of time.
On the day of serving, top them with the tomato, asparagus, and mozzarella cheese and warm through until the cheese melts. For this particular recipe, you could also separately prepare the asparagus and store in an air-tight container as well. Cutting down on prep time. Both can be stored up to three days ahead of time.
While your crostini’s are under the broiler, add the asparagus tips to your preheated pan. Drizzle the remaining olive oil and garlic that you used for your toast and saute until slightly softened. You will turn the asparagus occasionally to prevent burning. This will take approximately five minutes.
Once the crostini have broiled in the oven, remove your sheet pan and place tomatoes on top of each piece. I used about 20 constellation, or cherry, tomatoes to make 20 servings.
Be sure to drop your oven temperature to 250 degrees at this point so you are ready to melt the cheese.
Lay on those beautiful softened asparagus tips across each piece along with a sprinkling of mozzarella. I also added a pinch of kosher salt to each piece as well. Place your sheet pan back in your 200-degree oven and let them bake until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes are slightly softened. This should take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes.
To finish this lovely little appetizer, remove them from the oven and drizzle with a balsamic glaze. You can purchase prepared balsamic glaze from your grocer, usually found in the condiment aisle or, you can check out our Balsamic Orange Chicken recipe were we teach you how to make your own!
How to make crostini – Asparagus and Tomato
- 1 Loaf Baguette Sliced on diagonal in 1/2" pieces
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic Minced – Can use 1 Tablespoon of jarred minced garlic
- 20 pieces Asparagus tips Save the rest of the asparagus stalk for soups or grilling
- 20 each Constellation or Cherry Tomatoes Sliced in rounds
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Glaze
- Prep First: Start by placing olive oil and garlic in a bowl, stir to combine. Slice baguette into 1/2" pieces. Slice tomatoes into rounds and set aside. Warm up your pan to grill asparagus. If using oven heat – preheat to 500 degrees.
- Place crostini pieces on a sheet tray and brush with olive oil being sure to cover the entire top of the bread. Place under broiler and cook for 2 to 2 and a half minutes being sure not to walk to far away so they don't burn.
- While crostini are toasting, place asparagus tips along with remaining olive oil/garlic mixture in your pan. Cook until asparagus is slightly tender. Approximately 5-minutes. turning occasionally
- Remove crostini from oven and place sliced tomatoes onto each piece covering as much as possible without overlapping. Be sure to decrease oven temperature to 200-degrees after removing toasted crostini.
- Add asparagus tips, one per piece of toast, atop cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and return to a 200-degree oven to bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe can be made ahead of time by toasting the crostini and storing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- You can save additional time by grilling asparagus and storing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Prepping at the start of the recipe will give you the confidence to complete this recipe without feeling too panicked.
- Be sure to keep your eye on the crostini as it is toasting in the broiler so they don’t burn and you have to start over.