crostini: the toast with the most

bread.  let’s all be honest with ourselves, it’s just downright amazing.

just to quickly clear up any misinterpretations, when i say the word “bread,” i mean magical foods like challah, french bread, italian bread, pumpernickel, rye bread, pita, and even our unleavened friend matzah.  what i don’t mean is the nasty highly processed white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth when you make a sandwich out of it.  are we all on the same page?  ok, let’s continue.

the invention of bread gave humanity all kinds of stuff.  it gave us sandwiches (arguably one of mankind’s most versatile and transportable foods), croutons, bread bowls, french onion soup, and a boat load of other things which make my life wonderful.  some historians even think bread was the innovation that inspired beer (although other historians believe exactly the opposite, namely that beer, as one of the oldest beverages known to man, was the inspiration for bread).

but let’s address the elephant in the room.

toast.  if toast was a liquid, i would bathe in it.  if it weren’t so darn crispy and scratchy, i would probably try to make an overcoat or some cool article of clothing out of it.  maybe a hat.  yes, i like toast that much.

roughly torn chunks of french bread, once toasted to perfection, accentuate the majesty of the already incredible fried egg.  toasted pumpernickel bread, raw garlic, and pickles have been the backbone of the russian diet for well over 100 years.  what would french onion soup be without a disk of toast slathered in cheese?  it would be run of the mill onion soup, that’s what.  i could go on, but i won’t, because i want to talk about the crostini.

the sweet, sweet crostini.

picture a super thin disk of toast.  then picture a smattering of two or three high quality delicious ingredients delicately nestled atop the aforementioned toast disk.  sound simple?  that is because it is.  but as our good friend lord polonius said, “brevity is the soul of wit.”

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they see me rollin’ (harumaki), they hatin’.

if you are from the united states, you know all about things that are rolled up and fried.  as kids, i’m pretty sure we all had that obligatory eggroll now and again that got thrown into your meal of delivery chinese food for free.  honestly, i only ever had one, because the first time i ate it i decided that i freaking hate eggrolls.  yeah, they are crispy and deep-fried, but that is where the deliciousness ends.  they don’t have any good sauces to go with them, the insides are soggy and weird, and they basically just taste like lightly seasoned cabbage.

in short, there is a reason they give them away for free with a lot of chinese food.  and that is because, when mass-produced, they aren’t very good.

but i’m not a stubborn man.  i’m always ready and willing to have my opinion changed.  and when it comes to deep-fried rolled foods, it was my time in japan that ultimately changed my mind.  although i modified it to make it slightly my own, i can’t lay claim to this recipe.  my buddy ben, who is currently doing what i do only in russia, showed me the elegant simplicity of fried spring rolls while we were both studying abroad in japan during our college years.  thanks dude, i owe you one.

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