Roasted Red Pepper Crostini with Balsamic Reduction
When allowed to reduce or cook down, balsamic vinegar becomes slightly sweet and thick. Here, it adds full-bodied flavor to light, crunchy appetizers.
- 3 large red bell peppers
- 3 Tbs. pine nuts
- 1 red jalapeño chile
- 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1½ Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ Tbs. chopped fresh mint
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.), plus 1 whole garlic clove, peeled, divided
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs. agave syrup
- 6 ⅓-inch-thick slices ciabatta bread, toasted
1. Toast pine nuts in skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned, shaking pan constantly. Set aside.
2. Preheat broiler, and place oven rack in highest position. Coat bell peppers and jalapeño with 1 tsp. oil. Place on baking sheet, and broil 15 minutes, or until blistered and partially blackened on all sides, turning often. Transfer to bowl, cover, and cool. Peel and seed. Slice bell peppers into thin strips, finely chop jalapeño, and transfer to bowl. Add pine nuts, parsley, mint, minced garlic, and remaining 2 tsp. oil; toss to combine. Season with black pepper.
3. Meanwhile, bring vinegar and agave syrup to a simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 10 minutes, or until mixture reduces to about 3 Tbs. and coats bottom of pan when pan is tilted, stirring occasionally. Stir 1 Tbs. balsamic syrup into roasted pepper mixture. Marinate roasted pepper mixture 30 minutes, or chill overnight. Top bread slices with roasted pepper mixture, and drizzle with remaining balsamic reduction.