Caesar crostini

Makes 16 crostini

If you're in a time crunch, you can use bottled Caesar dressing, but making the lemony mixture from scratch takes only minutes using ingredients you are likely to have on hand.

For the bread

 

16 Crostini, preferably made from sourdough baguette (recipe follows)

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

For the Caesar Dressing

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Salt to taste

2 ½ cups finely shredded romaine hearts (cut the leaves in half lengthwise, then shred)

 

To prepare the bread, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the crostini on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Let cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together the ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add the romaine lettuce to the dressing and toss. Using tongs, mound the lettuce on the crostini. Provide plates for your guests.

Advance preparation

The dressing will keep for up to 2 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Assemble the appetizers just before serving.

 

CROSTINI

Yield is variable

 

Crostini are crispy Italian toasts, which are perfect in place of ordinary crackers for accompanying soups, salads, and many appetizers.

 

3/8-inch-thick slices French baguette

Olive oil for brushing

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly brush oil on both sides of each bread slice. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown but not firm all the way through. Serve at room temperature.

 

Advance preparation

The crostini will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.