On Friday night, I had a little party. It involved a few friends, a few appetizers and a few more bottles of wine. When I have parties, big or small, I love to revolve the menu around the appetizers. I like appetizers better than the main course, sometimes even better than the desserts.The problem, of course, with a lot of my favorite appetizers, is that the main ingredient is usually cheese. Tarts, baked brie and hearty spinach-artichoke dips, while delicious, are anything but figure-friendly.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against cheese-laden, calorie bomb appetizers as an occasional indulgence. But, it’s about time that I added a few lighter snacks into my par-tay repertoire.
White Bean Bruschetta is a refreshing alternative to traditional tomato bruschetta, with rosemary adding depth of flavor and heart-healthy olive oil playing a starring role. Finish it with a drizzle of high-quality, flavored balsamic vinegar for an extra splash of flavor.
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, divided (I like rosemary in the winter and chives in the summer)
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (10-ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 24 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
- Balsamic vinegar (traditional or flavored)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350º. Place bread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350º for 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. TIP: IF you're short on time, purchase crostini from the bakery department of your grocery store.
- 2. Set white beans in a medium bowl. In another bowl or in the body of an oil mister, combine ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic (if you're using an oil mister, you can prepare the oil up to two days ahead of time so that flavors will combine).
- 3. Add oil mixture to beans and combine thoroughly. Top each piece of crostini with a heaping tablespoon of beans. Garnish with additional rosemary and finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.