House Salad Crostini
September 9, 2020 by Nicole Collins
I’m feeling a little backwards today.
Upside down. Inside out. Flipped all around.
Not for any particular reason other than today’s recipe has a reverse situation vibe going on.
And, I’m cool with it. Sometimes, it’s ok to break the rules!
…says the goodie goodie that is a rule follower to the core.
Today’s recipe was actually inspired by a member of the online supper club group that I’m in. She posted a picture a few weeks ago of a raw veggie mix on top of a bagel with cream cheese, and she called it something along the lines of a salad bagel.
And of course, that got my wheels turnin’ and burnin’. I thought about how we could turn this reverse salad idea into a portable, shareable snack, and that brings us to what we’re making today.
Today, we’re making House Salad Crostini!
Think of this recipe as an inside out salad. The crunchy crostini bread serves the same function as a crouton. The ranch flavored schmear plays the role of salad dressing. And the chopped veggies on top equal the big ol’d bowl of veggies that make up a salad. And the best part is that this salad requires no fork and can be eaten as you mingle!
Let’s talk about that crostini based. We’re going to make our “crouton” component extra special by giving it a nice garlic butter flavor. So, store bough baguette is sliced into thin rounds, brushed with a simple mix of melted butter and garlic butter, then popped in the oven to get nice and toasty. We don’t want this crostini to be crispy crunchy like a crouton, though. We want a nice golden layer of crust on the outside while the inside of the bread still keeps some fluff and softness. That makes it the perfect texture to safely accomplish multiple bites in the event you’re not into shoving the whole thing into your mouth at one time.
I’m not judging either way.
The glue to keep our veggies secured to the garlicky crostini is a fresh, ranch flavored crème fraiche mix. I love crème fraiche, because it’s thick and creamy while also being rich and buttery but still having a little tang to it. We’re going to add some fresh chopped herbs like parsley, dill, and chives; add some dried spices like onion and garlic powder; then give it all a good mix. The ranch cream can sit in the fridge while we work on the other components of the salad so that the flavors have a little time to completely meld together.
The final piece of our salad crostini is the salad! We’re going to use the standard house salad ingredients: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and a little bit of carrot. We want to chop the veggies into pretty small pieces so that there’s room for everyone on our bread slice. Now, you may be looking for the cheese in the salad. I chose to leave that out since we have that rich crème fraiche spread. But, you could totally add a little shredded cheddar to this mix if you want to. There are no rules when you’re making inside out salad!
To serve, it’s as easy as taking a toasted bread slice, spreading a little ranch cream on top, then piling on the veggies. Put them on a pretty platter for serving, and these are ready to go!
These are a fun way to switch up the salad routine for every day dinner or a fun appetizer to serve at a party. These little handheld treats will have the kiddos begging to eat their vegetables! And bonus, the crème fraiche is thick enough that it protects the bread from becoming soggy from the veggies. So, these can handle sitting out for a little bit. However, they do need to be eaten the same day that they’re assembled.
These will easily become one of my new favorite appetizers. They’re fun. They’re pretty. They’re simple. And, they taste way better than any house salad I’ve ever had…if I may say so myself.
Ok, guys! I’ll turn myself back to the rightside up position tomorrow. Today, we play!
Enjoy, and let’s eat!
House Salad Crostini
Serves: 24 crostini Print
For the Ranch Cream:
½ cup crème fraiche
1 tsp chives, minced
1 tsp parsley, minced
½ tsp dill, minced
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
For the Crostini:
1 baguette, sliced to ½ inch slices
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp garlic powder
scant ½ tsp salt
For the Salad:
1 cup romaine lettuce, finely chopped
½ cup grape tomatoes, small diced
¼ cup cucumbers, small diced
1 tbsp shredded carrot
1 tbsp red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
Make the Ranch Cream: To a small bowl, add crème fraiche, chives, parsley, dill, ¼ tsp garlic powder, onion powder, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine. Set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Make the Crostini: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange baguette slices on a large baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl, mix melted butter, 1 tbsp garlic powder, and ½ tsp salt until well combined. Brush butter mix on the top side of each bread slice, making sure to stir the butter often to pick up any garlic that may have settled at the bottom of the bowl. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the bread is toasted and lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, mix the Salad: To a mixing bowl, add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrot, and red onion. Toss to combine. Set aside.
Assemble to Crostini: Schmear about 1 tsp of ranch cream over each toasted baguette slice. Top with chopped salad. Serve immediately!
*Since two of our components of these crostini are cold items, we don't want our baguette slices to be hot from the oven when we build our crostini. Let the toasts cool down to room temp so the cream doesn't melt and the veggies don't wilt.
*These are best assembled right before serving.
*You may be tempted to add a little salt and pepper to our veggie mix, but we don't need it. There's enough seasoning in the toast and cream that these are perfectly seasoned.
*If you don't have or can't find crème fraiche, you can use plain nonfat greek yogurt mixed with a splash of heavy cream.
*We're using fresh herbs in this recipe, not dried.