It’s been over a month since I posted a recipe. This has been the longest hiatus I’ve taken from blogging recipes since I started at the beginning of the year, but it certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking and eating. I spent three weeks out at Quillisascut Farm School, and came back to Seattle to start piecing together the next phase of my life. In the nearly two weeks since I’ve been back, fall has come to the northwest and I’ve been putting my cooking energy into canning and freezing summer fruits and veggies to preserve for winter. Nothing fancy– just hoping to bottle up some sunny flavors for dark winter days ahead. I’ll post my applesauce recipe in a few days, since this is the perfect time to go apple picking and come home with fresh inspiration, but for now I wanted to post the recipe for what I call my garlic toasties. I’ve been asked about these by multiple people and a friend pointed out yesterday that I’ve never posted the recipe, so I figured I’d get on it before it slipped my mind. The more detailed name of this appetizer and crowd pleaser would be “Mascarpone and Garlic Oil Toasts with Balsamic Honey Reduction,” but “Garlic Toasties” makes me laugh and is a lot easier to remember. They are a simple and inexpensive way to start off dinner for a crowd or to serve as a side to soup or salad. Words of advice: make way more than you think you’ll need because these fly off the tray!
1 large loaf good quality ciabatta bread, thinly sliced
1 (8 oz) container mascarpone cheese (you can also use a large log of goat cheese)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the garlic, herbs and a dash of salt and pepper. Heat garlic, stirring every 30 seconds, for about 3 minutes, until it starts to brown. Turn off the heat and pour into a bowl. Set aside. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Add the balsamic and heat over medium high. When it starts to bubble, stir in the honey. The honey is key here. It adds an extra sweetness that compliments the savory garlic oil and the tang of the vinegar and it thickens the consistency of the balsamic so you don’t have to reduce it for as long. Once you’ve stirred in the honey, turn the heat down to low and let reduce 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Line bread slices on two baking sheets. Spread each slice of bread with 1 Tbs. of mascarpone or goat cheese. Next, use a pastry brush to brush the garlic oil onto each piece. Make sure you get plenty of delicious garlic pieces on each slice. Once the balsamic glaze is thick but not sticky, remove it from the heat and use a small spoon to drizzle it across the top of each toast. You’re making Jackson Pollack style abstract art here!
And that’s it! Pop the toasties in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted (goat cheese won’t fully melt, but mascarpone will) and serve warm!