Bacon Ciabatta Crostini with Pimento Cheese and Candied Jalapeños .
I’ve found the thing I want to eat for the rest of my life.
Well, the thing besides bacon, chocolate dipped in peanut butter, tacos of all kinds, really great pizza, cheese and crackers and mojitos. Yeah, that thing.
It’s called pimento cheese on bread brushed with bacon grease and then toasted. And then topped with more BACON. And then topped with a candied jalapeno (or three).
Right? Isn’t this what you would like to eat forever and ever and ever?
I thought so.
Soooo. Once you’ve got your mint julep planned (I’m thinking strawberry this year), appetizers and snacks come next. Only THEE most important part of this Saturday, for sure. If you have been reading for a few years, you know Eddie is crazy over the Kentucky Derby. As of right now, he is picking between Dortmund, American Pharoah and Mubtaahji as the front runners.
As of right now, I’m picking this crostini as my front runner.
Speaking of my husband, I made these and said “hey! I think I made something that you’re going to LOVE. Come eat it!” He asked what it was. I said pimento cheese.
He said he hates pimento cheese. I said why. He said BECAUSE IT HAS OLIVES, duh.
No no no no no. I made his day, saying this pimento cheese had, um, pimentos, which yes, you can often find stuffed in olives but are not olives themselves. He rejoiced! We ate crostini until we were blue in the face.
Or should I say red in the face, because these are spiiiiiiiicy. Hot hot hot.
I’m really in love with these little treats. You can make pretty much every component ahead of time – I would just quickly broil the ciabatta before serving and assemble. It is the perfect blend of creamy, crunchy, sweet and savory. I used white cheddar cheese in my pimento cheese because sometimes I have a phobia of orange foods (see also: carrots) and especially orange cheese. I used a touch of cream cheese, mayo, pimentos and spices. You know what’s next on the list? GRILLED CHEESE. BURGERS. HOT DOGS. Anything and everything that I can kind of sort of top with and melt pimento cheese on.
Tell me: how do YOU make pimento cheese? And what kind of mint julep are you making? And are you wearing a hat?
Because these are the important questions of life.
Bacon Ciabatta Crostini with Pimento Cheese and Candied Jalapeños
4 jalapeño peppers, sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 slices bacon
1 ciabatta baguette, sliced (you can use whatever kind of baguette!)
12 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 (4-ounce) jar of pimentos, drained
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
To make the candied jalapeños, Add the vinegar, sugar and garlic powder to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then add in the peppers and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all of the slices are submerged. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place them in a jar or a bowl. Continue to cook the liquid for another 5 minutes until it has reduced by half, then pour it over the jalapeños. Allow the peppers to cool completely - you can do this a day ahead of time too.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until completely crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel to drain. Preheat the broiler in your oven to high, with the over rack in the center of the oven. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush each slice with the bacon grease in the skillet from the cooked bacon. Place the baking sheet in the oven and broil for just 1 minute or so until the bread is golden. Don't take your eyes off of it!
Let the crostini cool slightly. Crumble the cooked bacon. Spread each bread slice with a spoonful of pimento cheese. Add some bacon crumbles on top. Add one candied jalapeno on each crostini and serve.
Add all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well until combined. You will have some leftover, so store it in a sealed container in the fridge.
[candied jalapeños adapted from foodiewithfamily]
Apps for life. (that’s apps like snacks, not like computer stuff, 2015.)