Crostino in Italian means crouton – small pieces of toasted bread.
Crostini are thin slices of toast smeared with a pate or a spread of some kind. Crostini may be served either hot or cold.
Bruschette, on the other hand, are quite different. It’s all about the bread … thick, chewy, rustic bread!
Bruschetta (singular) consists of a thick slice which is grilled, rubbed with a fresh garlic clove and anointed with a generous drizzle of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Bruschette are always served hot.
Think about it, crostini without the toppings is just toasted bread, but true bruschette doesn’t need anything else and is perfect just the way it is. But of course, it can be used as the foundation for your favorite vegetables (Roasted peppers, Caponata, Fagioli).
As you can see by the image, this is crostini. I used thin slices of a baguette, smeared with fresh ricotta and topped with a lima bean puree (recipe below).
Fresh lima beans, a favorite in the southern states, are easier to find there than in the rest of the country, so I use frozen. Lima beans, with virtually no fat, are rich in fiber, an important source of plant protein and an excellent source of minerals and many B-complex vitamins.
Even if you think you don’t like lima beans, give this puree a chance. It’s a great healthy afternoon snack.
- 2 cups frozen baby lima beans
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for drizzle)
- 1 small baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
- In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil.
- Add the lima beans, bring to a second boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender (approx. 15 minutes).
- Cool in ice water (to retain the color).
- Place the cooked, cooled and drained beans in a food processor, add the garlic and salt. Pulse until pureed.
- Add the olive oil and pulse until thoroughly blended. Season with additional salt to taste.
- Smear the puree on the baguette slices (or spoon a dollop on a poached egg).
- And of course, a generous drizzle of your best robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil is in order.