We've always loved eating finger food, at catered events and at home, and we often find that it's just more delicious than whatever comes out as the main course. Our favorite finger food trick of all is to put any and all ingredients on top of a crusty piece of bread, then call it crostini.
This version, topped with pureed acorn squash, savory bits of bacon, and crispy sage, may seem fancy, but really it's easy and cheap. And so long as you have extra hands to put down festive cocktails and help assemble, you can make enough of these bites to spread holiday cheer to all of your friends. On the other hand, if what you're in need of is a main course, simply cut your slices of bread a bit larger, scoop more squash puree onto each slice, and sprinkle with copious amounts of bacon-sage topping. Voila—tartines for dinner!
Shopping List: 1 large acorn squash, $2.00; ¼ cup milk, $0.25 (prorated); 1 baguette, $2.00; ½ pound bacon, $2.00; 30 sage leaves, $1.00 (prorated).
Pantry Items: Butter, Salt, Olive Oil.
Total Cost (15 appetizer portions or 3 main course portions): $7.25
About the authors: Phoebe and Cara are the co-founders of Big Girls, Small Kitchen, a food and cooking website for twenty-something cooks looking for user-friendly, affordable ways to navigate their kitchens. They have a heated, decade-long rivalry about whose Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie is the best. Their book, Big Girls, Small Kitchen, will be published in the spring of 2011 by William Morrow. Visit their blog here.
- 1 large (1.5 pound) acorn squash, halved, seeds scooped out
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ pound bacon, roughly chopped
- 30 sage leaves
- 1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place squash in parchment-lined baking pan. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in microwave and brush squash thoroughly, pouring any extra into squash cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the squash halves are easily pierced with knife.
Cool until easy to handle. Scoop out flesh and transfer to food processor. Add milk and process until smooth. Taste for salt, adding more as necessary. Set aside (this can be done up to 2 days in advance).
Meanwhile, place bacon and sage in baking pan and toss with small drizzle of olive oil. Season lightly with some salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bacon has rendered all its fat, and sage is dark and crispy. Set aside.
Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, until crusty, but not browned.
In medium frying pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When butter has melted and is slightly foamy, give it a stir. Continue cooking until light golden brown, about 1 minute longer, then immediately add squash puree and stir to combine.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of the warm squash mixture onto each slice of bread. Top with a piece of crispy bacon and sage, and serve.