Grilled Ham and Cheese Crostini with Garlic White Bean Puree

April 14, 2020 by Nicole Collins

Does anybody know what day it is?

I have to think about the answer to that question a LOT harder than I used to have to.

There have definitely been days where I can't remember if I'm supposed to log in for work or not. And, there's definitely been a Saturday when I got all the way logged in before I realized I wasn't supposed to be working.

I'm actually kind of enjoying this quarantine. With the exception of how much I miss the grocery store, I'm perfectly content to stay home with the pups, work on my herb garden, and just kind of enjoy my home. Sure, I miss my friends. But we talk daily, so that helps to make it feel like we're not missing a beat.

What I'm REALLY enjoying about this quarantine is the challenge of cooking through my kitchen. I haven't done any grocery shopping in 3 weeks, and I've been working my way through my 2 pantries and 2 freezers. My kitchen hoarding has FINALLY paid off!

Side note, make sure you follow me on Instagram ->, because I've been posting bonus recipes there as I whip up some pantry staple winners.

I've been finding my self eating my body weight in carbs, and I basically want everything on a little slice of baguette. So this week, we're going to make 2 recipes that double as an appetizer or a (quarantine) meal.

First up...Grilled Ham and Cheese Crostini with Garlic White Bean Puree!

OK, that may be a mouthful to say, and it's certainly a mouthful to eat; but it's TOTALLY easy to whip up!

Let's talk about the base of our crostini...the grilled baguette. In the spirit of digging things out of the back of the pantry, I broke out my panini grill that I haven't touched in a good 5 or 6 years. And, I don't know why. It's amazing! After giving my bread slices a little drizzle of olive oil, it grilled my little bread rounds perfectly in under 5 minutes.

Now, if you don't have a panini grill, you're not out of luck here. You could grill the bread in a grill pan, on an actual grill, or you could just toast them up in the oven. Easy peasy!

The glue on our crostini is a delicious, garlicky white bean spread. Start by very slowly simmering a couple cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of thyme, and some olive oil over very low heat. Once the garlic is roasted and the oil is infused, we're going toss it in a food processor with some cannellini beans and a squeeze of lemon juice. Blend until it's smooth and creamy, and our spread is done! This spread also works as a delicious dip too!

To give our crostini a little heartiness, we're going to add some torn deli ham, a shaving of parmesan cheese, and just a little touch of sauteed spinach. Finish it with a pinch of fresh cracked black pepper, and you have a creamy, delicious bite of heaven!

These crostini are certainly a fun party appetizer to keep in your back pocket for when we're allowed to party again, but I enjoyed them as a fun lunch. They're like little deconstructed sandwiches, and who doesn't love that?

Ok, everyone! Stay tuned for crostini week part two. It's another super easy one that's a complete flavor bomb!

Until then...stay sane! And, let's eat!

Grilled Ham and Cheese Crostini with Garlic White Bean Puree

Serves: 24 crostini Print

Ingredients:

For the Garlic White Bean Puree:

  • 1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 2 sprigs thyme

For the Crostini:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

  • 2- 2 ½ tbsp olive oil

  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 French baguette, sliced to ½ inch thick slices

  • 6 slices black forest ham, torn

  • shaved parmesan cheese, (about 1 ounce)

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the Garlic White Bean Puree: To a small saucepan, add ¼ cup olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 7-8 mins, flipping the garlic every few mins to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for at least 10 mins. Remove the thyme sprigs.

  2. To the bowl of a small food processor, add beans, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil mix, and salt and pepper, to taste. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Set aside.

  3. To the same pot used for the garlic oil, add 2 tsp olive oil, spinach, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 mins until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat.

  4. Assemble to crostini: Preheat a panini grill. Brush both sides of baguette slices with remaining olive oil. Arrange bread on grill, close, and grill for about 3-4 mins until the crostini are golden. Schmear the crostini with white bean puree. Top with spinach, torn ham, and a shaving of parmesan. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper, if desired. Serve!

Recipe notes:

*If you don't have a panini grill, you can grill the crostini in a grill pan. Or, you can toast them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 5-6 mins per side.

*If all of your spinach doesn't fit in your garlic oil pot, saute the spinach in batches. It REALLY wilts down though, so the pot won't seem like it's overflowing for long.

*To shave parmesan cheese, take a wedge of parmesan, and run a vegetable peeler along one of the edges. Just like peeling a veggie, the cheese comes right off in nice strips.

*If you're not serving all of these at once, wait to toast the bread until you're ready to serve. Store the rest of the toppings separately in the fridge.

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