“The combination is actually inspired by a cheese board,” says the former 'Great British Baking Show' finalist
Before including this recipe in her new cookbook, the Great British Baking Show finalist Crystelle Pereira tried out a version on the popular baking show.
"I made a focaccia during Bread Week on The Great British Bake Off with roasted grapes, feta, honey and walnuts with fresh fennel that went down a treat with the judges. The combination is actually inspired by a cheese board,” says chef, who ultimately included this in her new title, Flavor Kitchen. “I wanted to transport those flavors and ingredients to something more simple, bite-size and perfect for a party.”
Best of all, the starter is a great way to use up ingredients on their last legs, says Pereira, who suggests using up stale baguettes or shriveled grapes.
"This is one of those recipes where the finished product looks very impressive and intricate, thanks to the contrasting colors, flavors and textures," she says, "but requires little effort to put together."
Crystelle Pereira's Roasted Grapes, Fennel & Honey Crostini
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ Tbsp. dried thyme
24 black seedless grapes
1 (7 oz.) block feta cheese packed in brine, plus 6 Tbsp. brine
⅛ tsp. fine sea salt
⅛ tsp. black pepper
10 whole walnuts, skin on
1 small French baguette
⅓ cup thinly sliced fennel (from 1 [8-oz.] bulb)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1½ Tbsp. honey
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place olive oil in a small saucepan with garlic and dried thyme; heat gently over low, stirring occasionally, until oil is sizzling and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
2. Place grapes on a baking sheet; toss with 1 tablespoon of the infused oil. Roast in oven until sizzling and skins have shriveled slightly, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes; slice each grape in half lengthwise.
3. Place feta, brine, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until smooth, about 1 minute.
4. Heat a small skillet over medium. Add walnuts; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes; break or chop into small pieces.
5. Cut baguette diagonally into 10 thin (about ½-inch-thick) slices; drizzle each evenly with remaining infused oil. Place on a baking sheet; bake until crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
6. To assemble, spread 1 heaping teaspoon of whipped feta over each baguette slice. Top with grape halves; sprinkle with walnuts, fennel and thyme leaves. Transfer to a serving platter, and drizzle with honey.
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
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