And just when you thought you had seen everything the sweet potato had to offer, in it walked with a slice of prosciutto on its head.
I know what you’re thinking.
That was a funny way to start—and yes, you’re correct. Also, if these are crostini, where’s the bread? And what’s the difference between crostini and bruschetta, anyway?
Well, if you’re like me, you’ve spent hours wondering if those words are interchangeable.
Wait, you don’t devote your free time to deciphering the difference between similar types of appetizers?
That’s cool. Let’s have some bread banter anyway, shall we?
The term crostini typically refers to baguette rounds, whereas “bruschetta” derives from the Italian word “bruscare” (meaning “to roast over coals”) and often signifies broad slices of toasted, rustic bread.
Was anyone else just overwhelmed with the earthy, nutty aroma of a freshly toasted loaf of Italian bread?
Pass the butter, please.
So, here’s the thing:
There’s no official rule that says that the base of crostini or bruschetta has to be in the form of crusty bread. I believe that the vehicles can be open-ended, and—well, it’s my kitchen—so I’m in charge here.
Don’t get me wrong, I go gaga for a golden-brown hunk of bread, but I love exploring the different possibilities for a platter of one-biters.
For the flavor-bomb bottoms in this recipe, I opt for sweet potatoes. There’s something about the warm, holiday-like perfume that fills the air when sweet potatoes make their journey from raw to cooked.
The way you slice them and how high you crank your oven are the two most important factors. The rounds should be thick enough to hold up all of the toppings, but thin enough to achieve a lightly crisp texture.
This is achieved by having no fear when it comes to turning up the temperature of your oven. It’s as simple as this: lower heat will steam your vegetables, whereas higher heat provides an opportunity for caramelization.
Always lean towards caramelization. I think Abe Lincoln said that?
When the crispy circles are just cool enough to handle, that’s the ideal time to smear on the goat cheese. If you read the recipe carefully enough (lookin’ at you, the reader who just perused the pretty photos and moved on), you’ll see that the cheese needs to come to room temperature.
Goat cheese is crumbly, so the softer it is, the easier it is to smear onto your sweet potatoes. If you’re on the hunt for an entirely vegetarian bite, feel free to leave off the prosciutto altogether.
Though I wouldn’t recommend it.
The silky, buttery slice will melt on your tongue while the sweet, caramelized figs add bright, sugary notes.
Speaking of figs, here are some quick guidelines on fresh vs. dried.
Since fresh figs only make an appearance in the hot months of the year, you may very well end up using the dried form for this recipe. Regular black mission figs work fabulously, but if you can get your hands on the Calimyrna variety—the honey-like flavor of these golden nuggets is
hard to beat.
Additionally, fresh figs are soft, tender, and juicy—which means they do just fine under the heat. Dried figs, however, are concentrated and chewy, so too much time in the oven can make them hard and crystallized.
Let the honey-balsamic mixture sink in, and then get those suckers out of there.
The basil leaves not only add color, but they bring a fragrant freshness that rounds out every mouthful. Vibrant, bursting with texture, and addictively delicious. What more could you ask for in an easy appetizer?
Crusty bread? Nah, not today.
- When using dried figs, don’t roast them for too long or they’ll become hard and crystalized.
- For a funky twist, use a good-quality blue cheese like Gorgonzola or Stilton in place of the goat cheese.
- For extra texture, add a few handfuls of chopped toasted walnuts.
- For a fancy presentation, drizzle the entire platter with aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic syrup (which you can find in any regular grocery store).
- 2 small sweet potatoes (about 1/2 pound), unpeeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as vegetable, sunflower, or grape seed)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large fresh figs, stemmed and quartered (or 8 dried figs stemmed and cut in half)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
- 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half
- 16 small fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- In a bowl, toss the sliced potato rounds with the oil and season them generously with salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the bottoms become lightly golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Flip each potato round over and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle the warm potatoes with an additional pinch of salt.
- Lower the oven to 375° F.
- Place the sliced figs into a baking dish and drizzle with the honey and balsamic and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. If using fresh figs, bake until the figs are lightly caramelized, 12-15 minutes. If using dried figs, bake for 5-8 minutes. Dried figs will get hard if baked for too long.
- Arrange the potato rounds onto a platter and spread each one with even amounts of goat cheese. Fold each slice of prosciutto and place it on top of the goat cheese. Top each piece of prosciutto with a roasted fig and a basil leaf and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 1395mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 18g
Cooking By the Numbers – Beginner Friendly Steps with Photos…
Step 1 – Slice and Bake the Potatoes
Preheat the oven to 425° F and slice the potatoes into rounds.
In a bowl, toss the sliced potato rounds with the oil and season them generously with salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the bottoms become lightly golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
Flip each potato round over and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle the warm potatoes with an additional pinch of salt.
Step 2 – Drizzle the Figs with the Honey and Balsamic and Bake
Lower the oven to 375° F.
Place the sliced figs into a baking dish and drizzle with the honey and balsamic and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. If using fresh figs, bake until the figs are lightly caramelized, 12-15 minutes. If using dried figs, bake for 5-8 minutes. Dried figs will get hard if baked for too long.
Step 3 – Assemble the Crostini
Arrange the potato rounds onto a platter and spread each one with even amounts of goat cheese. Fold each slice of prosciutto and place it on top of the goat cheese. Top each piece of prosciutto with a roasted fig and a basil leaf and serve.
Gettin’ Figgy with it.
Put these sumptuous one-biters out for a party and they’ll disappear before your very eyes. You’ll need some back-ups, so give these other addictive apps a try: