It’s no secret I love cheese. My husband and I will often forgo dinner in favor of a large cheese platter with fruit and nuts. While we enjoy a variety of cheese, some of our favorites are sharp cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan, and my husband loves blue cheese. So when I found out that Wisconsin Cheese was hosting a recipe contest for the Food and Wine Conference I couldn’t wait to create an easy summer recipe using one of my favorite cheeses.
The problem was that once I started trying to come up with an easy summer cheese recipe I couldn’t think of one using cheddar or Parmesan. I looked for inspiration with Blue Cheese and came up empty there too. I finally went to the Wisconsin Cheese website and started browsing the different types of cheese they produce. Let me tell you, there are a ton of different types! I figured when I saw something that would make a great recipe I’d know.
Turns out I was right! After about 5 minutes of browsing the types of cheese my eyes landed on the one…Mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone comes from Italy. It’s not your typical cheese as it is rich, buttery, and slightly sweet. This makes it perfect for using in desserts or with fresh summer fruits. I had my eyes on it to pair it with the fresh strawberries and fresh picked rhubarb I had in my refrigerator.
Since I wanted to whip up something easy I immediately thought of crostini. In the summer I don’t like eating anything heavy but crostini is a favorite of mine. It can be topped with just about anything and in this case I thought it would make a great summer appetizer or snack. I made a quick strawberry rhubarb compote with white wine for some flavor.
I toasted thick slices of French bread and then spread a generous amount of the Mascarpone on top. Then I added a spoonful of the fruit compote, a drizzle of honey, and a bit of fresh mint. This tastes like a little bit of early summer. Crunchy bread slathered in the rich mascarpone then topped with the sweet and tart compote with just a hint of sweetness from the honey. The mint not only adds flavor but is the finishing pop of color to this summer appetizer as well.
- 1 loaf French Bread
- ½ c. Bel Gioioso Mascarpone
- ½ c. Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- 2 T. honey
- 1 T. fresh mint
- ¼ c. white wine (or water if you prefer)
- ¼ c. sugar
- 1 c. rhubarb, chopped
- ½ c. strawberries, chopped
- 1 t. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice the French bread into 1 inch thick slices. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the bread begins to brown.
- While the bread is baking, make the compote by placing the white wine, sugar, and rhubarb in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the strawberries to the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Remove the bread from the oven and spread a tablespoon of mascarpone on each slice. Place a heaping teaspoon of strawberry rhubarb compote on top of each crostini.
- Drizzle the crostini with honey then sprinkle with chopped mint or a whole mint leaf.