California Cheese & Sweet Potato Crostini, Two Ways
Thank you to Real California Milk for sponsoring this post
If you ask my husband, he might tell you I’ve developed a nearly pathological drive to incorporate some manner of produce into every meal of every day. I’d say he’d be overstating the facts, but I do my best to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. And why not? They’re colorful, flavorful, and ridiculously good for you. So, when Real California Milk asked me to collaborate on an appetizer recipe for the holidays, my first thought was,
“Yes please! I’m crazy about the cheeses of my home state.”
“Hmmm, how do I get some produce in there?”
Enter California Cheese & Sweet Potato Crostini. The method for making these flavorful little bites is no different from classic Italian bread crostini, but instead of slicing and toasting a baguette, you do so with a sweet potato.
A Winning Pair
California dairy products offer endless options for holiday appetizers while supporting local farm families. The big plus here is that the natural sweetness of the potatoes pairs perfectly with the saltiness and full flavor of California cheeses. The combination makes a wholesome appetizer; the cheese delivers protein and calcium while the sweet potatoes lend fiber and heaps of vitamin A. Sweet potato crostini also happen to be suitable for my gluten-free friends and are pretty enough for any holiday table.
In the recipe below, I share two ways to make the crostini, one with Real California blue cheese and pomegranate seeds and the second featuring Real California fresh Mozzarella and basil pesto.
Those are just two ideas to get you started, but the options for pairing cheese and crostini are endless. Here are a handful of other flavorful combinations I’ve tried and enjoyed:
- Queso Fresco with salsa verde and a cilantro sprig
- Sharp Cheddar with caramelized onion and pear
- Fresh Mozzarella with olive tapenade
- Cheddar with bacon and apple
- Brie with cranberry sauce and rosemary
Cheese & Sweet Potato Crostini, Two Ways
For the Crostini
- 1 pound long slender sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 smaller ones)
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ heaping teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Blue Cheese/Honey/Pomegranate Topping
- 3 ounces Real California blue cheese
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- Honey for drizzling
- Several sprigs fresh thyme
For the Mozzarella/Pesto/Walnut Topping
- 4 ounces Real California fresh Mozzarella cheese
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto
- 16 walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut sweet potato into thin rounds (about ¼-inch). You will have roughly 32 rounds for a long, slender 1-pound sweet potato. Pile onto baking sheet, toss with olive oil, and spread them out. Sprinkle with salt and add a lightly dusting of black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, turn over, and continue to bake until the sweet potatoes begin to brown lightly, another 15 minutes or so.
Use half the sweet potatoes for the blue cheese crostini and assemble by topping with a piece of blue cheese, a little spoonful of pomegranate seeds, a drizzle of honey, and a tiny sprig of thyme.
Use the remaining sweet potatoes for the Mozzarella crostini and assemble by cutting the cheese into thin slices. Top each crostini with a piece of cheese, followed by a dab of pesto and a walnut piece.
Makes about 32 crostini