Crostini are a pretty brilliant way to use up odds and ends that you might have in your fridge, and it doesn't take much to transform them into an elegant little appetizer. An avocado that's begging to be used (like TODAY) becomes a perfect partner for firm cannellini beans, and looks beautiful heaped on a sturdy little toast.
The fork in the road part come in the form of a bright parsley gremolata, which may even be appealing to younger or more timid palates. If not, the pared down combination of the creamy topping and the crunchy toast makes for a good rustic chomp. If you want all of the crostini to be seasoned up, double the amount of the gremolata.
Avocado and Cannellini Bean Crostini with Gremolata
For the Gremolata:
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 clove finely minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
about ½ cup good olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1 ripe Hass avocado
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. To make the gremolata, in a small bowl (or a mini food processor) combine the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Slice the baguette on the diagonal into about 24 to 30 ½-inch slices, so that you get more surface area for each slice. Brush olive oil on one side of each slice of bread, arrange them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the bread is lightly toasted. The crostini will firm up a bit as they cool, so don't over bake them.
3. While the crostini bake, slice the avocados in half lengthwise, and remove the pit. Use a knife to cross-hatch cut the avocado into small dice right in its skin. Gently scoop the small cubes of avocado into a medium-sized bowl. Add the beans, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir to blend. Top half the crostini with the plain avocado-bean mixture, heaping it onto the toasts. Then stir the gremolata into the remaining mixture, and top the rest of the toasts.
4. Serve on separate platters so people know which is which.