by Paula of Bell’alimento
If you’re not familiar with brick cheese, I suggest you make trying it a priority. The flavor can be described as mild, sweet and nutty when young. Aged brick develops a more pungent and tangy flavor of washed-rind cheeses. Both young and aged brick cheeses complement rich, savory flavors – making it the perfect finger food match for Oktoberfest-style menu items such as pretzels with mustard, kraut and beer brats.
My mother used to make a version of this recipe for fall parties using cream cheese, and I thought that brick cheese would take the flavor up a notch. I was right. She also added nuts to hers, so if you’re feeling like you need a little extra crunch (besides the toasted bread), go ahead and sprinkle some on. A sprinkle of pecans, pine nuts or walnuts would be a great option.
Roasting generally brings out the best in foods – heightening the flavors and adding a touch of sweetness –and grapes are no exception. Perhaps you haven’t thought of roasting them, but it is a must-try! Adding balsamic vinegar gives these crostini a full, balanced flavor. Garnished with a sprig of thyme, this appetizer will add a sophisticated look and elegant taste to your Halloween festivities.
By Paula of Bell’alimento
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 baguette, cut in 8 equal slices
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 1-ounce slices Wisconsin brick cheese
Fresh thyme, for garnish
Heat oven to 425°F. In small bowl whisk vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt. Add grapes. Toss to coat. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange grapes in single layer on sheet and pour vinegar mixture over. Roast approximately 25 minutes or until grapes have softened and liquid mixture has somewhat thickened. Remove from oven. Reserve excess glaze mixture from pan; set aside.
Reduce heat to 350°F. Place bread on another baking tray. Spread slices lightly with butter. Top each with slice of Wisconsin brick cheese. Toast approximately 5 minutes, until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven.
Top each crostini with spoonful of roasted grapes and garnish with fresh thyme. Finish each with drizzle of reserved balsamic glaze mixture.