Crostini are always much more impressive than store-bought crackers, yet they are extremely easy to make and you control the ingredients. It is much easier to find local artisinal bread, even those made with completely local flour, than it is to find local crackers (or even local crostini).
In my area, there are a few local bakeries that can be counted on to provide wonderfully tasty artisinal loaves, many made with locally sourced flour: Ross’ Bread in Ridgefield, CT is committed to using organic, local products and donates a percentage of profits to the CT Farmand Trust – they sell at the Gossett Brother’s Nursery Farm Market (Saturdays, 9-1pm), and at the Ridgefield Farm Market (summer Fridays, 3-7pm); Wave Hill Breads in Wilton, CT hand-shapes artisinal loaves from a single dough, made with a 3-grain flour milled daily – Wave Hill Breads are available at their shop in Wilton, at the Westport Farmer’s Market, at Plum Plums in Pound Ridge, NY, and at Near & Natural in Bedford Village, NY, as well as many other markets; Bread Alone in Boiceville, NY makes hand-crafted organic loaves and sells at their shops in Boiceville, Woodstock and Rhinebeck, at many farm markets (ask for breads baked with local flour) and online; and of course there is Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners, NY, who grow and mill all of their own flours on-site and sell breads in their storefront in Clinton Corners, at Near & Natural, and at various local farm markets – they also sell their flours should you be inspired to make your own.
The next time you have friends over, impress them with your local cooking prowess; these crostini, a local cheese or two, some fresh strawberries or storage apples from your farmer’s market and a great bottle of local wine is all you need to convince anyone that local = delicious.
- 1 loaf of bread, preferably homemade or artisanally baked
- 3 oz butter, at room temperature or softened in the microwave for 30 seconds
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried herbs or chile powder, or 1 tbsp grated hard cheese (such as Barat or Ouray), minced onion, or minced garlic
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice bread thinly, trying to keep the slices as similar in size as possible. Baguettes and smaller loaves work well and can be sliced once; larger country loaves may need to be sliced, then the slices cut in half.
- Arrange bread pieces on a baking sheet; pieces should not touch but can be quite close together. One full loaf may take up to 3 baking sheets.
- Spread a thin layer of butter (or drizzle or spray olive oil, if you are lucky enough to have local olive oil where you live) on each piece of bread. Sprinkle with salt, then with toppings of choice.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crostini are crisp and beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. Store wrapped in a kitchen towel, at room temperature, to keep crisp. Serve with cheese, bean spread, chutney, salsa, whatever!
Yields enough for 8 hungry locavores.
- This is a great idea for the last half of the loaf; if you’re going to be away for a day or two, crostini will keep while fresh bread will not. They also make a more portable snack for road trips, hiking or picnics.
- Any bread and nearly any topping will work; let your imagination run wild!
These crostini stay crisp for up to 3 days. Avoid storing in plastic or in the refrigerator where they will lose crispness; you can also freeze these and re-heat in a 375 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes.