When I hear the word appetizer, I often think of dinner gatherings or cocktail parties. When folks are standing around waiting for the larger meal or event, it's nice to have something to nibble on. But what about when it's just you and your partner or family at home making dinner? That's occasion enough for appetizers too, and in my opinion, toasts are often the answer!
I first started thinking more and more about toasts after hearing of a restaurant here in Seattle, Dinette, who specializes in all different kinds of these savory appetizers. Some featured rapini pesto while others featured pickled farmers market vegetables or peperonata and chickpeas. The daily toasts are often a surprise, and because they're small, they're an easy add-on to any dinner (or make a very fine happy hour snack).
So we've started experimenting at home, making toasts while we cook using whatever happens to inspire us in the refrigerator at any given moment. Often ours are less creative and varied (as we usually have many of the same ingredients in the refrigerator), but are satisfying and fun to pull together none the less.
Tips for Crafting Great Toasts
- Choose Bread Wisely: The key to making good toasts is choosing a nice, crusty bread. Baguettes are best, I find, simply for their size: sliced, they make a great snack-size toast.
- Let the Seasons Guide You: When thinking about toppings, toasts are a great time to look in the refrigerator and use ingredients you've already got on hand. Or pick up something fresh at the farmers market or grocery store that looks interesting to you: sliced radishes are great, fresh basil makes for a quick pesto topping, roasted broccolini is a delicious and satisfying inclusion.
- A Little Goes a Long Way Toasts are meant to be a few bites so you don't need to pile them high with toppings. Start small and then you can continue layering on if you wish.
- Size Matters: If I have a larger baguette or country-style loaf of bread, I'll often even cut the slices in half so I have 2-bite toasts.
- Butter or Oil are Key: While some folks may be tempted to grill the toasts in a dry saucepan, they will certainly warm but they need a little butter or oil in the pan for flavor. This isn't the time to skimp.
Try a Recipe:
• Mushroom Melts with Mustard Aioli (pictured) - How Sweet Eats
• Avocado Toast - Cookie and Kate
• Radish Toast - The Kitchn
• Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella on Garlic Toasts - Everyday Occasions
Related: Spring Appetizer Recipe: Goat Cheese Rapini Toasts
(Image: How Sweet Eats)