Recently I hosted a small dinner party, and encountered a new challenge. One of the guests was vegan. While my husband and I often eat vegetarian meals, I have never really cooked a vegan dinner. As it turned out, I didn’t have a problem with the main course, but I was really stumped by the appetizers. Most often before we begin a meal, we will put out a table full of nibblies, including cheeses, and a variety of appies that contain meat and / or seafood. So, I really had to work hard to come up with something that my vegan friend could eat and would enjoy. Fortunately Bon Appétit (February 2014) came to the rescue and provided me with this winning vegan appetizer and guess what? She loved it and even asked for the recipe. The original recipe called for a loaf of crusty bread that could be spread with the toppings and then cut into slices. I decided to add a layer of flavour by making crostini from a dense fruit and nut bread and then spreading each piece of bread with the toppings. I would do this again because it provided a lovely crunchy base for all of the other textures of the ingredients.
Tonight I am taking a big tray of these appies over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. I know that many of the guests are vegetarian and many are vegan too, so at last I can offer them something delicious! I know that the other guests will enjoy them too because the combination of flavours is quite awesome! Our co-hosts tonight are, my friends Elaine from Foodbod and Prudy from Butter, Basil, Breadcrumbs. I know we are all in good hands with these two very gracious co-hosts. Thanks so much, Elaine and Prudy for co-hosting us tonight and to our dear Angie for opening her doors to us every Friday. Happy Fiesta Friday everyone!
Spiced Yam and Roasted Broccoli Appetizer
1 large yam (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
½ teaspoon salt
Broccoli and Assembly
1 large head broccoli, stem removed and cut into large florets
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, divided
Flaky sea salt
1 loaf of your favourite dense fruit and nut bread
Slice bread very thinly. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Turn pieces of bread over and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until breads are crisp. Remove from the baking sheet and place aside.
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Pierce yam with a fork several times and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until yam is soft.
Remove from oven. Cut the skin of the yam and scoop the cooked yam from the skin. Place in a medium bowl. Add the sambal oelek, orange juice, rind, and salt and mix well. Set aside.
You can make this, 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Broccoli and Assembly:
Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place broccoli on it. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 6 – 8 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and chop coarsely.
Toss broccoli, nuts, lemon juice, half of the basil and mint and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread crostini with yam mixture. Top with broccoli mixture and remaining basil and mint and any remaining pistachios. Sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.