Roasted Garlic Crostini

(Adapted from First Impressions by Betty Rosbottom [William Morrow, New York, 1992])

 

2 medium heads garlic

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup olive oil, plus more if needed

24 inch thick slices baguette

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

 

To prepare the topping, preheat the oven to 400F.

 

Smash each head of garlic with your hand to break it into cloves.  Lightly smash the individual cloves with the back of a large knife so that the papery coating is loosened.  Peel off this papery skin.

 

Place the garlic cloves in a small ovenproof ramekin, soufflé, or custard cup.  Pour the olive oil over the cloves; the oil should cover them completely.  Cover tightly with a double thickness of aluminum foil.   Place on the center shelf of the oven and bake until the garlic cloves are very tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.  If necessary, bake another 10 to 15 minutes.  When the garlic cloves are tender, remove with a slotted spoon and drain.  Reserve the oil.

 

Place the garlic cloves, butter, and 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil in a food processor or blender and process until puréed, about 45 to 60 seconds.  Transfer to a small bowl and season with pepper.  The garlic purée can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.  Cool, cover, and refrigerate.

 

When ready to prepare the crostini, preheat the oven to 300F.

 

Brush both sides of the bread slices with the remaining reserved olive oil.  (Any extra oil can be saved for another use.  It makes a wonderful base for salad dressing!)  Place the bread slices on a large baking sheet.  Bake, turning once, until the crostini are light golden brown and crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Spread each crostini with a generous teaspoon of the roasted garlic mixture.  Place on a baking sheet.  The crostini can be prepared 2 to 3 hours ahead to this point.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature.

 

When ready to serve the crostini, preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake the crostini until warm, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the chives and arrange on a serving tray.  Serve warm.