The Easiest Summer Party Recipes—Wine Pairings Included

According to the clock, there's only a few hours left before the summer weekend begins. We know you already have visions of margaritas, mojitos, chilled summer wines, and BBQs in your head. And while grilled corn and cheeseburgers are all well and glorious, we recommend you upgrade your standard summer fare with these four fab variations on the season's tastiest appetizercrostini. Though whipping up something that sounds as gourmet as roasted figs over ricotta or prosciutto and Gruyère may sound complicated, we swear our recipes are as idiot-proof as they are tasty. And with the expert advice from our go-to personal chef and foodie blogger, Claire Thomas from The Kitchy Kitchen and well-priced wine pairings from Whitney Adams, the vino ace from Domaine L.A. and Brunellos Have More Fun, we've got you covered. All you need is some basic ingredients and a good baguette. We promise your next al fresco cocktail party will kick off with a flavorful bang—and keep you grilling and chilling in style all weekend long.
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Sauteed Mushroom Crostini with Roasted Garlic, Jimenez Sherry Vinegar, and Truffle Oil

Earthy, almost meaty, mushrooms with sweet roasted garlic make this vegetarian option a slam-dunk for any entertaining occasion. Plus, the pungent acidity of vinegar and that wow-factor of truffle oil really elevate this dish to something truly special.

For six crostini:
1 pound of mushrooms, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Jimenez Sherry Vinegar
6 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Truffle oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack, flip, and bake for another five minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. In a saute pan over a medium flame, add about two tablespoons of olive oil and brown the shallot. Add the mushrooms and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are browned and just getting soft. Add the thyme and cook for a minute or two longer. Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and drizzle with a little truffle oil (a little goes a long way). In the meantime, wrap the peeled garlic in aluminum foil with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until soft and deep golden brown. Smear a roasted clove on the crostini and pile with mushrooms. Finish with a few fresh thyme leaves.

Wine pairing: 2007 Alois Settimo, $17.
The red-cherry hints in this wine is a match made in heaven with the earthiness of the porcini and thyme.

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Roasted Fig and Ricotta Crostini with Balsamic Vinegar

This simple combination makes the most of what the ingredients have to offer: Sweet earthiness, rich creaminess, and a pop of pungency to brighten it up.

For six crostini:
5 figs
3/4-cup fresh ricotta
6 slices Italian bread or baguette
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack, flip, and bake for another five minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted. Next, turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Slice the figs into quarters and place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the figs for about 20 minutes, or until bursting and colored. Smooth two tablespoons of ricotta onto each crostini (the toasted bread) and top with three or four pieces of fig. Grind a little pepper over it and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Wine pairing: 2010 Saetti Lambrusco, $17.
This is a great dry lambrusco that pairs naturally with balsamic vinegar—they both come from the Emilia Romagna region in Italy.

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Fava Bean and Roasted Cherry Tomato Crostini with Burrata and Basil

Light, simple, and the perfect dish to celebrate summer. Plus, BURRATA!

Makes six crostini:
1/2-pound Burrata (one ball), cut into six slices
1/2-pound fresh fava beans, shelled (if they're hard to hunt down, fresh peas would also work)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons basil, finely julienned
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack, flip, and bake for another five minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet with a silicon pad or parchment, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 20 minutes, or until bursting and colored. Meanwhile, boil a small pot of well-salted water and prepare a small ice bath. Add the fava beans to the water and cook for about 90 seconds, until they bob to the top. Immerse them in the ice bath and peel the rubbery outershell away. Smooth a slice of Burrata onto each crostini and top with about 10 fava beans and six cherry-tomato halves. Grind a little pepper over it, drizzle with olive oil, and top with the basil.

Wine pairing: 2010 Chidaine Touraine, $13.50.
A Sauvignon Blanc always pairs well with fresh green herbs and will add dimension to the soft fava beans and creamy Burrata.

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The Fancy Ham and Cheese: Sauteed Swiss Chard with Prosciutto and Gruyère

Something about this earthy, hearty combination with the pop of parsley makes this crostini the perfect snack—or for a summer party to really knock your guests' socks off.

Makes six crostini
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped into 1/4-inch wide pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
6 slices of prosciutto
6 thin slices of Gruyère
1 tablespoon parsley leaves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack, flip, and bake for another five minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted. In a sauce pan over a medium flame, add about two tablespoons of olive oil and add the Swiss chard with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about two minutes, or until just wilted, and add the garlic, cooking for a few minutes more. Pile the Swiss chard onto the crostini and add the slice of prosciutto and cheese. Top with a few parsley leaves.

Wine pairing: 2010 Lioco Indica Rosé, $17.
Rosé is fantastic with cured meats and cheeses, and will stand up to the saltiness of both the prosciutto and Gruyère.

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