Looking for an simple appetizer that will still impress your guests? Ina Garten has just the answer for you with this recipe for Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta from her book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (Clarkson Potter, 2012). These crisp toasts with lemony sharp feta and sweet ripe tomatoes are an unbeatable combination. If you prep all the parts in advance and then just assemble them before dinner, it’s an easy and wonderful first course.
Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten
Serves 6 to 8
6 ounces good feta, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2⁄3 cup good olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, ½-inch-diced
3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
20 to 25 (½-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted (see note)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, ½- teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.
For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you’re serving, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.
To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.
Note: Place the bread slices on sheet pans, brush with olive oil, and bake at 425 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned.