Crostini with Avocado, Orange, Toasted Pistachios, and Micro-Herbs with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  28 to 30 crostini
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  5 minutes

Crostini with Avocado, Orange, Toasted Pistachios, and Micro-Herbs with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

These winter fruit-and-vegetable bites are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to eat. I designed them for my fantasy meal with Rashida Jones and they are chock full of luscious California produce (I am so jealous). This is the dish that blew away my worldly-wise, hard-core, wildly experienced recipe tester. I used a micro-herb mix that was local to me (I got them from Gilbertie’s Herb Farm; they used to be on Martha Stewart’s TV show when she lived nearby), and I suggest you go local too. That being said, use whatever micro-herb or mix that you like best—this works well with both bitter flavors or those that hint sweet—and it also works with microgreens.

Ingredients

2 to 3 medium oranges, Cara Cara, or blood oranges preferred

½ cup shelled, salted pistachios

1 (14- to 15-inch) baguette (about 8 ounces)

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1¼ cups (about 1 ounce) micro-herbs, washed and air dried

2 ripe Hass avocados

½ teaspoon Maldon salt or any flaked sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. Arrange the pistachios on the baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until slightly golden. (Watch carefully and do not let them burn.) Transfer to a platter to cool and line the baking sheet with fresh parchment paper (or brush off the original sheet).
  3. While the nuts are toasting, prepare the oranges. Working over a medium-sized bowl to save as much of the juice as possible, peel the oranges, removing as much of the bitter white pith as you can, cut them into segments, and set aside (you should have about 30; if there are extra, save for another use or gobble them up). Reserve the bowl with the juice.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Cut the bread crosswise on the bias into ½-inch thick ovals (you’ll have around 30). Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.
  5. Add the molasses to the juice and whisk to combine.
  6. Just before you plan to serve, peel the avocados and cut into as many wedges as you have slices of bread (see Kitchen Tip). Place the wedges into the bowl with the orange juice and turn gently to coat, to prevent browning. Remove from the bowl, reserving the juice.
  7. Top each baguette slice with an orange section, an avocado wedge, and 1 or 2 sprouts or micro-herb sprigs. Top with a few pistachios. Sprinkle each crostini with a little of the salt, rubbing it between your fingertips over the toppings. Drizzle with the pomegranate-orange dressing. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. The avocado contains a large round pit that can be awkward to remove. Here is one way that is especially good if you need to slice it: With a sharp knife, cut around the avocado lengthwise (you won’t be able cut straight through because of the pit). With a hand on each half, twist the halves in opposite directions to detach them. The pit will still be firmly attached to one side. Carefully dig the blade (not the tip) of your knife into the pit and twist to remove the pit. Peel and slice the avocado. If you will be holding the avocado for any length of time, acidulate the flesh with a little citrus juice to prevent it from turning brown when exposed to the air.

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