Recipe for tricoloured crostinis: the taste of freedom
You know what they say about freedom: nothing says it better than food.
Okay, I have no idea if anyone actually says that, but that’s besides the point. The point being that today marks India’s 70th year of freedom. What some may call the original Brexit, or All India Bhackchod calls ‘the day India resigned.’ (which if you watched yet, you definitely should!) Coincidentally, it also marks a year since my sisters and I concocted a delicious tricoloured dinner to celebrate the spirit of freedom, but also our undying love for food.
I don’t need to dwell on the centrality of food in Indian culture. In fact, food is one of those common cultural traits that we share with our Pakistani friends across the border. Since I believe that Independence Day is as much about national pride than it is about those shared memories of partition, painful as they may be, what better day could there be for sharing a recipe that is nostalgic about a bygone era, but also forward looking in its hope for a better future? And that’s because this recipe is by no means a traditional one. In fact, very few of its ingredients are even typical of the South Asian region.
So before I over-symbolise its significance, or risk being called anti-national, let me get right to the point. They’re called tri-coloured crostini and this is how you make them.
- 1 baguette (makes about 12-15 crostinis)
- 1 mango (not Alphonsos)
- 150-200 gms of goats cheese
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 lime
- 2-3 small jalapenos
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado
- ½ tsp rye seeds
- 1-2 tbsp salt
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- 1-2 tbsp olive/cooking oil
- Cut the baguette into thin pieces
- Bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the strength of heat. They should be a light golden and crisp. Leave them in the oven so they stay warm while you prepare the tricolor
Colour 1 – Mango Salsa
- Chop the mangoes into small cubes and place in a bowl
- Cut the jalapenos into small pieces and mix them in the bowl
- Squeeze the lime, depending on how sour you want them
- Add in the cilantro leaves and keep the bowl in the refrigerate whilst preparing the next 2 colours
Colour 2 – Caramelized onions and goats cheese
- Chop the onions into long slices
- Heat olive oil or any cooking oil in a fry pan, and add the onions once the surface is hot
- Once the onions turn a light brown, start adding the salt. Add it in small batches, rather than all at once, and keep stirring. Make sure they’re spread out across the surface, so they don’t burn
- You can add a little bit of sugar, however the onions can get caramelized with just salt as well (I know, my mind was blown too). This process takes at least 15-20 minutes.
- Once the onions are a deep brown colour (like in the picture), you can switch off the gas. Leave the onions on the pan so they don’t become too cold.
Colour 3 – Avocado
- Chop the avocado into long slices (watch this video if you’re not sure how)
- Optional for additional flavour: adding finely chopped tomatoes under the avocadoes.
- In case you don’t trust yourself to get the shape right, you can go for the smashed avo toast look as well. Or just straight up guac.
- Now for the fun bit! Bring out your mango salsa, open the goats cheese cubes and remove your caramelized onions from the gas.
- Arrange your crostinis on the plate and get spreading.
- Top 1/3 with the chilled mango salsa
- Place the caramelised onions on the 1/3 and generously crumble goat cheese onto so that the white colour is visible
- Put some olive oil on the remaining 1/3, spread your avocado slices and garnish with rye seeds.
Statutory warning: consuming this dish may cause you to feel an overwhelming sense of national pride. While you’re experiencing this emotion, avoid imposing it on others, or worse, calling them anti-national. That would just ruin the spirit of this dish.