Unsure if it’s the because of the holiday season of giving or if I was just feeling generous, but the other day I decided to prepare a 5 course dinner for my family. I realized that my parents had never dined at a fine dining restaurant and probably wasn’t planning on it anytime soon, so I thought, as a chef, it was my duty to give them that experience at least once in their life. For the first course, I prepared a crostini platter consisting of a warm tomato bruschetta and egg crostini, sauteed kale with fresh mozzarella and this crispy speck, whipped goat cheese, and onion jam crostini. I sampled each of these before serving them and knew they would enjoy it as much as I did. In fact, I enjoyed the speck crostini so much I had to share the recipe with you. Looking for an appetizer for your next dinner? Look no further because your recipe is here!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
What is speck? Speck is a type of cured meat that is similar to prosciutto but with different preparation methods. Speck and prosciutto might look exactly the same, but speck is more flavorful and potent because it is cold smoked after it is cured. Baking the speck in the oven brings out the flavors even more; if you can’t find this particular cured meat, substitute with prosciutto instead.
Whipping the goat cheese makes it creamier and easier to spread than using the soft goat cheese as is. I can spread this on my bagel and be perfectly satisfied!
As for the onion jam, you’re looking for a sweet but slightly tangy condiment to compliment the speck and goat cheese. Here is where the balsamic vinegar comes in handy. The jam may appear almost burnt, but take note that it’s the color of the vinegar.
Although I loved all 3 crostini, this crispy speck, whipped goat cheese, and onion jam crostini is probably my favorite. The combination of the salty speck with creamy cheese and sweet and tangy jam is just perfection. Oh, and did I mention? It was all served on homemade country toast – no store-bought bread here! Hey if you’re going to make a 5-course meal, might as well go all out and make everything, including the bread, from scratch, right? If you’re curious, here was my menu for the night:
1st course: Crostini platter: warm tomato and egg/speck, goat cheese, onion jam/kale, mozzarella, chili flakes
2nd course: Goat cheese gnudi with chanterelles, fried sage, brown butter sauce
3rd course: Pan seared halibut, chermoula, spiced cauliflower puree, asparagus with apple cider vinaigrette
4th course: Tea smoked duck, pear balsamic, spicy tomato jam, fried Brussels sprouts, caramelized pears
5th course: Beignets with a trio of sauces: Nutella, vanilla creme anglaise, raspberry coulis
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.