Summer is my favorite season for entertaining. Longer days mean there is more time to gather with friends after a day spent under the sun. There is something so appealing about the ease of it all. Just put a few bottles of rosé, white wine or sparkling wine on ice. Then grab some meat and veggies to throw on the grill. Appetizers should be a breeze to throw together, too. That’s why these grilled crostini with ricotta, mini sweet peppers, and salsa verde are the perfect appetizer for summer grilling season. These crostini are also an ideal wine pairing for all the rosé and sparkling wine you’ll be drinking this summer.
Grilled Crostini Appetizer Components
While you could also toast the crostini in the oven, I prefer to throw them on the grill. Not only are the grill marks aesthetically pleasing, but the added flavor from grilling the bread is delicious. Be sure not to place the bread directly over the fire or coals because it will burn quickly. If you don’t have a grill, then you can use a grill pan for the same effect. Whatever you do, skip the store-bought crostini. Take the minimal extra time to toast the bread yourself. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
This salsa verde is bursting with flavor from loads of fresh herbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. If you prefer a stronger garlic flavor, you can add a minced clove of garlic. Personally, I prefer to rub the bread with a clove of garlic when it’s fresh off the grill. This method adds just a touch of garlic flavor and is included in the recipe below. For a salsa verde with a kick, add a finely chopped jalapeño or serrano pepper. Salty components like chopped capers or anchovies make great additions, too. You’ll likely have left over salsa verde and perhaps ricotta. These can be repurposed together into a tasty omelet or pasta dish.
The recipe calls for sweet mini peppers because they are so mouthwateringly good when grilled. If you don’t have these on hand, grilled bell peppers will work just as well. You will need to cut them up more once grilled to fit nicely on the crostini.
The unlimited number of crostini topping options are one of the best parts about making crostini appetizers. Grilled balsamic marinated portobello mushrooms, eggplant, or asparagus are other delicious options for these crostini. For fresher crostini, top with sliced heirloom or garden tomatoes.
A build your own crostini appetizer tray offers a fun way to serve these for a party. You can grill the bread and assorted vegetables ahead of time. Then, chop up each grilled veggie and serve them in separate bowls and guests can assemble their own crostini. In addition to ricotta and salsa verde, you can also serve olive tapenade, romesco sauce, and more.
This recipe for crostini appetizers is vegetarian and can be made vegan by foregoing the ricotta.
The Wine Pairing
These grilled crostini appetizers are a great pairing for tart rosés with crisp acidity, aromatic white wines, or traditional method sparkling wines. Rosés of Grenache, Barbera, or Nerello Mascalese are wonderful options. They each offer red fruit or tart red fruit notes like strawberry and pomegranate with refreshing acidity. These characteristics work well alongside the herb-packed salsa verde and grilled sweet mini peppers.
Aromatic white wines like Vermentino or Albariño will complement this dish nicely, too. A bottle of Cava or another traditional method sparkling wine will also be delicious here. The refreshing bubbles and acidity of a sparkling wine play well with the fresh flavors of these crostini toppings. While the toasted or bread-like complexities of the wine from the extended lees contact will beautifully complement the grilled bread flavors.
I hope you enjoy this recipe with friends, family, and an exceptional bottle of wine! If you make these grilled crostini, please let me know how it goes in the comments below. Cheers!
These grilled crostini are an easy appetizer that's perfect for summer entertaining. The herb-packed salsa verde is loaded with fresh flavor that totally complements the creamy ricotta and grilled sweet mini peppers. Best when paired with a crisp rosé or sparkling wine.
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
- 10-15 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 10 – 15 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 heaping tsp lemon zest
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil (or more if needed to just cover all of the herbs)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 french baguette
- 8 oz ricotta
- 8-10 sweet mini peppers
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- olive oil
Prepare the salsa verde first so it has time for the flavors to develop.
Finely chop all of your herbs. Zest 1-2 lemons. Add spices and the juice of 1 lemon. Stir and allow to rest.
Light the grill.
Prepare the crostini and mini peppers for grilling. Slice the baguette on a diagonal so you have more surface area to work with on each crostini. Slices should be about 3/4 in. thick. Brush both sides of each piece of bread generously with olive oil.
Cut the stems off each of the sweet mini peppers and clean out the seeds and veins from the center. Brush each pepper with olive oil on all sides.
Grill the bread slices and the bell peppers over medium to low heat. Do not place the crostini directly over the flame or else they will burn. Pay careful attention and turn as needed. The crostini will only take 1-2 minutes each side. For both the crostini and peppers, we're looking for grill marks and not char. If they become charred, they will taste bitter. So, stay by the grill, leave the grill uncovered and turn as needed.
When you remove the crostini from the grill, rub each piece of bread with the peeled clove of garlic. Only rub the side of the bread that you will be topping. Thinly slice the peppers when they come off the grill.
To assemble the crostini, slather ricotta on the garlic rubbed side of the bread, top with different colored sweet mini pepper slices, and drizzle the salsa verde on top.