7 Recipes Changing Bakery Breads Into Party-Perfect Appetizers

The French may edge out the rest of the world when it comes to baguette consumption — according to NPR, 10 billion baguettes are consumed by their people annually — but we’re no strangers to these crusty, delicious loaves across the Atlantic. Baguettes, ciabatta, and crispy breads are simple, cost-friendly, and delicious, making the perfect vehicle for many of your favorite sweet and savory flavors. These breads are especially convenient for whipping up simple, yet elegant finger foods as tasty party appetizers. Best of all, these loaves are readily available at any local grocery store or bakery.

Pick up a loaf and serve up some creative, crusty baguettes using one of these 7 recipes.

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

1. Herb Crostini With Blue Cheese Spread and Caramelized Onion Relish

Pungent and delicious, blue cheese has been hailed for its remarkable flavor from as early on as 79. A.D., reports eHow. Try topping your baguette slices with a rich and creamy blue cheese spread, adding some caramelized onion relish to the top for an elegant balance of sweet and savory flavors. This crostini recipe from My Recipes is a must-try for lovers of adventurous appetizers. It takes about an hour and 10 minutes to complete and makes 20-25 servings.

Ingredients:

Baguettes

  • ½ (20- to 25-inch) baguette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Creamy Blue Cheese Spread

  • 4 ounces blue cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces chèvre, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Caramelized Onion Relish

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice bread into ¼-inch slices at a slight angle, and arrange in a single layer on a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jellyroll pan or cookie sheet.

Stir together olive oil and herbs. Brush bread lightly on one side with herb mixture, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Cool completely. Top with the creamy blue cheese spread and caramelized onion relish, and serve immediately.

For the creamy blue cheese spread, stir together all ingredients in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula until smooth and creamy. Chill, stored in an airtight container, until ready to serve.

For the caramelized onion relish, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent.

Add remaining ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes more. (Onion will turn a red, translucent, almost candied color, and most of the liquid will evaporate.) Serve warm, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Wild Mushroom Crostini

Rich, aromatic wild mushrooms top off this crostini dish from Bon Appétit. Spiced with garlic and rosemary, the appetizer offers an exquisite, sophisticated addition to your pre-dinner spread. The dish’s components can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until serving. Recipe takes around 40 minutes to make and yields 36 servings — each of which contains 38 calories and 3 grams total fat.

Ingredients:

  • 36 ⅓-inch-thick baguette slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup chopped shallots
  • 2 ¼ cups chopped oyster mushrooms
  • 2 ¼ cups chopped stemmed shiitake mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ¾ ounces)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange baguette slices on rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until golden, about 9 minutes. Cool.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 1 minute. Add all mushrooms; sauté until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cream, rosemary, and lemon peel. Season with salt and pepper. Cool. Mix in both cheeses.

Preheat broiler. Top each toast with about 1 tablespoon mushroom topping. Place on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Working in batches, broil until cheese is melted and begins to brown, watching closely to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Transfer to serving platter. Serve warm.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Gorgonzola, Arugula, and Raisin Bruschetta

The characteristically sharp taste of Gorgonzola hails — somewhat unsurprisingly — from the town of Gorgonzola in northern Italy, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Have your guests munch on this tasteful gorgonzola, arugula, and raisin bruschetta — a dish that is exceptionally tasty when enjoyed along with a light glass of wine. Requiring only 6 ingredients, they’re a wonderful last-minute addition to any party or gathering. Rachael Ray Magazine’s recipe yields 12 slices and takes just 20 minutes to complete.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup soft gorgonzola
  • ⅓ cup mascarpone
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • ½ baguette

Directions: In small bowl, mash gorgonzola and mascarpone. In a large bowl, toss arugula with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar; season. Spread gorgonzola mixture on toasts. Top with some raisins, then top with arugula mixture and remaining raisins.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Olive Tapenade With Olive Oil Crostinis

The earliest tapenade recipe on record — Olivarum Conditurae — was published all the way back in first-century Rome, reports recipe and food history database Celtnet. Emeril Lagasse’s recipe may be somewhat more recent, but gives the ancient Roman recipe a run for its money in deliciousness! Top your crostini with Emeril’s pungent, tangy olive tapenade; the Italian chef’s recipe incorporates capers, anchovies, zesty Dijon, and red wine to create an unforgettable dish. Recipe yields 24 crostini and takes about 25 minutes to complete, according to the Food Network.

Ingredients:

Tapenade

  • 12 ounces pitted black olives, such as Kalamata, Nicoise, or Gaeta
  • 3 to 4 ounces capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 to 4 anchovy fillets, to taste, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ to 1 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 recipe Olive Oil Crostini, as follows

Olive Oil Crostini

  • 24 very thin slices French bread, cut on the diagonal
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Combine olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, mustard, thyme, parsley, crushed red pepper and lemon juice, and half of the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine well, then allow to process until mixture is coarsely puréed, adding more olive oil as needed to obtain desired consistency.

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve as a dip alongside crusty bread with goat cheese, grilled vegetables or chicken, or tossed with cooked pasta and fresh herbs.

For the olive oil crostini, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a pastry brush to brush the bread slices with olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Bake until crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Fig Spread and Cheese Crostini

With this recipe, Foodie Crush offers more deliciousness from the ever-adored sweet and salty genre. Fig preserves are the perfect complement to creamy gruyere and blue cheese. Accenting the dish with a bit of rosemary completes this tasty appetizer. When preparing the dish ahead of time, layer the cheese atop the bread before topping off with the preserves so as to prevent soggy baguette slices. Recipe yields 6 servings and takes 30 minutes to complete.

Ingredients:

  • 12 baguette slices cut about ¼-inch thick
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheese, such as farm cheese or Gruyère
  • ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ⅓ cup fig spread
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread baguette slices on a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper.

Top baguette slices with grated cheese, then a teaspoon or so of fig spread, then blue cheese crumbles. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese has melted and edges of baguettes are golden. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey and top with rosemary leaves.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Roasted Blueberry Ricotta Crostini

Mild ricotta and sweet, tart blueberries combine in this splendidly light dish for your guests to enjoy as a pre-dinner snack. The drizzle of honey atop of this recipe will lend it a natural element of sweetness. Toast your baguette slices by browning them slightly in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven — this process should take about 5 minutes. This recipe from Two Peas In Their Pod makes about 20 crostini and takes about 20 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
  • Additional honey, for drizzling

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place blueberries on a large baking sheet. Pour two tablespoons of the fresh lemon juice over the blueberries. Drizzle 1 tablespoon honey over blueberries. Gently toss the berries. Roast for 7-10 minutes or until blueberries are soft and almost ready to pop. You want to take them out of the oven before they pop. Let the blueberries cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread the baguette slices with the ricotta cheese mixture. Spoon roasted blueberries on top of the cheese. Drizzle each baguette slice with honey and serve.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Baguettes With Smoked Salmon and Dill Butter

The distinctive taste of smoked salmon is coupled here with a light dill butter, giving this dish from Epicurious its characteristic flavor. Add an irresistible bit of moisture and crisp to the mix with watercress, and you’re all set with one last perfectly party-friendly dish. Recipe makes 12 servings and takes 20 minutes to complete — no baking necessary!

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • ½ French-bread baguette
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup watercress, thick stems trimmed
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon
  • Coarsely ground black pepper

Directions: Mix first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Cut baguette horizontally in half. Spread Dijon mustard on cut sides of bread. Spread dill butter over. Top with watercress, then smoked salmon. Sprinkle with pepper. Cut each sandwich crosswise into 6 equal pieces, making 12 total.

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