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Pepita Crusted Goat Cheese Crostinis

goat cheese crostini

Yes, I know this recipe sounds fancy, but keep reading: I promise, it’s easy to make and is delicious. It’d be a lovely appetizer for a party or a nice hors d’oeuvre to enjoy with a glass of wine and a friend or your spouse while watching kids play in the back yard in the late afternoon.

This recipe was a big hit with my toddler. Prior to this, she turned her nose up to all soft cheeses, from cream cheese, to brie, to goat cheese. She ate three of these rounds each night I made this and devoured more yesterday after I made these to photograph for this post.

goat cheese crostini

Here’s another reason this recipe is special. It features some beautiful oil and pepitas from Stony Brook Whole Hearted Foods. They are a specialty oil company in the Finger Lakes region of New York specializing in expeller-pressed seed oils – get this – from winter squash!


Their culinary oil is made from 100% locally grown seeds of winter squash, like pumpkin, acorn, and butternut, sourced exclusively from a fourth generation family farm. They consider these oils to be the regional upstate New York equivalent of olive oil and use seeds that would otherwise be composted as a source for their lovely oil. The seed press-cake left over from oil pressing is used to produce heirloom pig feed.

And yes, I asked: their products contain no GMO seeds. It’s a win all around. They redeem heirloom seeds by using them to give us oil and pigs feed. Kind of awesome, really.

But how does it taste? The package they sent me to review included butternut squash seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, and their brined and roasted pepitas. The butternut squash seed oil was orangey with an almost sweet peanutty flavor to it. I love it. It’s lighter and a little bit subtler than the pumpkin oil; I can’t wait to use it in the fall for roasting root vegetables or drizzling over butternut squash soup.

The pumpkin seed oil was absolutely surprising. I expected orange, but it was dark green. For the first time, I understood what that foodie word umami meant. There’s a savory, rich, roasted flavor that reminded me of soy sauce and the pungent earthiness of porcini mushrooms. It is a delicious but strong flavor that can stand up to goat cheese. We also used this oil to made a vinaigrette for a rubbed kale salad, and it was fabulous. I’ll post that in the future.

Oh, and their pepitas. I thought “a seed is a seed is a seed.” How different can they really taste? I’ve never tasted a pumpkin seed like this. They are beautiful in their mottled color and delicious. They are brined first before being roasted and have an amazingly concentrated flavor because of it.

You can always substitute extra virgin olive oil for the pumpkin seed oil and storebought pepitas for Stony Brook’s, but the crostinis obviously won’t have the same depth of flavor.

When I make this, I divide it over two nights since there’s only three of us.

Printable Version Here

Ingredients
a small baguette (a bit stale is fine)
1 11 oz log goat cheese
4 T. roasted pumpkin seed oil, divided*
1/4 c. all purpose unbleached flour
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. + 2 T. roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pulsed in your blender or food processor
a few tablespoons of milk for dredging

*I got the best flavor from batches made with all pumpkin seed oil but the best appearance and consistency from a 50/50 mix of olive and pumpkin seed oil. It’s your call.

1. Cut the bread into about 11 or 12 thin slices. Using 1 tablespoon of oil, brush each side and set into 375 oven for 15-20 minutes or until crispy-chewy (it will depend on how thin your slices are).
2. Pour the flour into one bowl or rimmed plate and the panko and pepitas into another. Put the milk in a small bowl as well.
3. With a sharp knife, cut the goat cheese into small slices. An 11 oz log should yield 11-12 slices. If your knife sticks or gets gunky, just wet it and it will slice much more easily. If the goat cheese breaks, just mash it back into shape. It’s very forgiving. If you’re not going to cook it immediately, return to the fridge until you’re ready.
4. Warm the remaining 3 T. oil over medium heat in a skillet.
5. Press the cheese into the flour, then dip in the milk, then coat in the pepita/panko mixture, and then toss in the oil. Cook for a little less than one minute on each side. You want it to just crisp up and cook but obviously want to get the cheese out before it melts.
6. Put each slice of goat cheese on a slice of bread and enjoy!

Stony Brook Whole Hearted Foods provided the oils and pepitas for this post, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.   

   

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