Crostini bread question
I'm having a cocktail party and I'd like to make a few different recipes to serve on top of toasted baguette slices. Can I toast the baguette slices the day before? Will they keep well? It may be too time consuming to do right before the party. What do you guys do when you need a lot of toasted bread? Thanks.
I would have them pre-sliced and ready to go, but I would just put them on a baking sheet right before the party to toast.
I wouldn't toast the day before. As it sits, the toasted bread will become hard and chewy. From my experience, crostini tastes best w/in the first hour of toasting (I think Judy Rodgers recommends this too) and then will decline over the next several hours. When I've eaten crostini that have been leftover from a dinner party, etc., they are never as good as when made fresh.
I wouldn't toast anymore than an hour before your guests arrive. It's pretty easy though since you just need to slice bread, brush w/ a little EVOO, and toast in oven. I've found that 5-10 min. at 450F works better than lower heat for longer since they tend to get too hard this way. Just be watchful since I have a tendency to burn or nearly burn these types of things!!
I agree the crostini will taste best if fresh grilled. However, I served crostini at a large barbecue I catered this summer and had to pre-toast. I grilled the bread in my oven in the morning. Let it cool completely and packed it into large ziplock bags. At the party I spread my toppings. I served these with drinks at the beginning. Only two were left! No one noticed and everyone loved them. I don't think I would recommend that you do it the day before (although with the bag method it just might work) but certainly several hours ahead.
One popular topping I made was tomato marmalade. I cooked down a few peeled and seeded tomatoes with some thinly sliced red onions that I caramelized. I seasoned and added some sugar - just to taste, not like making a real "marmalade" - and raisins. It was thick and salty-sweet. A really big hit.
Good luck with your party.