Recipe of the Week
Beef Crostini With Balsalmic Drizzle
August 26, 2010

This is one of the first appetizers that I ever made. You'll be tempted to eat the Parmesan Crisps before you finish the rest of the recipe. RESIST the temptation. Or make a second batch. This is one of the best appetizers that I know. Even though I've made it many times, it's still a favorite.

Ingredients:

Parmesan Crisp:
* cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
*1-1/2 teaspoon all- purpose flour

Crostini:
*1 loaf of French bread prepared as in the "Basic Grilled Crostini" recipe in the "Bread" category.

Steak:
*2 boneless strip steaks approximately 1-1 inches thick (about 1 lb. total) prepared as in the "Flame Grilled Steak" recipe in the "Beef and Veal" category.

Spread:
*4 ounces garlic-herb cheese spread; slightly softened (I usually use a commercial brand.)

Balsamic Syrup:
* cup balsamic vinegar
*2 Tablespoons molasses

Garnish:
24 small arugula leaves

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the parmesan cheese and flour in a small bowl. Toss well to fully incorporate the ingredients.

2.) Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with a nonstick cooking spray.

3.) Sprinkle the parmesan mixture evenly to form 8 inch circles on the baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven 6 to 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and light brown.

4.) Let the parmesan crisps cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Remove the crisps from the baking sheet and gently transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

5.) When they are completely cool, break the crisps into 24 irregular pieces. Set aside.

6.) Prepare a loaf of French bread as described in the "Basic Grilled Crostini" recipe located in the "Bread" category. Set aside.

7.) Prepare the steaks as described in the "Flame Grilled Steak" recipe under the "Beef and Veal" category. Let the steaks rest for at least 15-20 minutes. Cut the steak at a bias across the grain into thin strips. Set aside.

8.) Combine cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 Tablespoons of molasses in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium high. Cook and stir CONSTANTLY for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to cup. Place the balsamic syrup into an airtight container and set aside.

9.) To assemble the crostini, spread 1 teaspoon of the garlic herb cheese onto each piece of bread. Top with 2 to 3 slices of steak. Drizzle some of the balsamic syrup over the beef. Top each crostini with a piece of the parmesan crisp and an arugula leaf.

TIP:
*The parmesan crisp may be made 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container.
*The balsamic syrup can also be made 1 day in advance when stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.