Fast, Seasonal Crostini via Paul Virant
In Well-Fed Vegetarian, chefs spotlight recipes that are worth forgoing meat.
© John Kernick
Next month, Chicago-based chef Paul Virant (Perennial Virant, Vie) will release a unique first cookbook, a sophisticated canning guide called The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux. Preserving the season's haul comes naturally to this sixth-generation Missouri native who grew up on a farm. Some of his favorite childhood memories involve foraging for mushrooms with his siblings and the amazing taste of his grandmother's creamed corn. He combined those flavors in one of our favorite fast crostini recipes—also using sliced baguette, a bit of tarragon, olive oil and ground pepper—and the appetizer takes well to seasonal variations.
Right now, Virant suggests using frozen corn and black trumpets, French horns or shiitake. He also loves winter squash—caramelized in the oven with a mixture of sherry vinegar and thyme—mixed with mushrooms roasted in a bit of honey. The vegetable pairings are also delicious tossed with a pound of whole grains instead of piled on bread for a filling main course. Virant likes to use wheat berries or couscous accented with a bit of fennel and tomato.
See Virant's Corn-and-Chanterelle Crostini Recipe