Think of the baguette as a blank slate. If it can be on a cracker, it can be on a baguette!
I love making party snacks and appetizers with baguettes because they’re long and fairly narrow, so it’s easy to make rounds, or I can slice one horizontally and have larger slices. Either way, you can easily use them to feed a few guests or a crowd. It’s tricky to make baguettes at home because traditionally they’re made using a special steam process. Luckily, your local bakery will have a variety of sizes to select from, depending on your party needs.
One of my favorite things to do with a baguette is to slice it into thin rounds and toast them in the oven for a few minutes at 300°F. I then make a variety of crostini. While crostini is an Italian concept, the baguette provides the perfect size and density to support a hearty topping. One of my favorite ways to do crostini is with a smear of fresh ricotta, then toppings like balsamic vinegar, mixed olives, marinated artichoke hearts, caramelized onions or thinly sliced radishes with sea salt
. These are super quick to put together, but everyone is always impressed. I like to serve three or so different variations at once.
Salade Niçoise Baquette Appetizer
Another party favorite I like to make is an app inspired by salade niçoise, the chopped salad that features tomato slices, olive-oil-packed tuna, hard-boiled eggs, artichoke hearts, shallots and olives on a bed of lettuce. For an app, I let rounds of baguette stand in for the lettuce. Then I coarsely chop all the other ingredients and mound some on each baguette slice, and top it all with the traditional anchovy filet.
Bahn Mi Sandwich Appetizer
Bánh mì is a Vietnamese sandwich on a baguette, featuring pickled carrots and daikon radish, pate or sliced roasted pork, cilantro, cucumbers and chilies. For parties, I make mini bánh mì sandwiches for appetizers. I cut the baguette into 2- or 3-inch-wide lengths, slice them through the middle and stuff each piece with filling. You can use premade pickled carrots (found in Vietnamese groceries) or simply soak your carrots and daikon in rice vinegar for an hour before making the salad.
You can also make a mini version if you need to stretch out your ingredients. This Beef Banh Mi Bites
recipe is a fun, bite sized version that's perfect for this.
Another simple baguette appetizer are shrimp toasts. I combine cooked tiny shrimp (sometimes called salad shrimp) with a mixture of sherry vinegar, fresh tarragon and parsley. I let it marinate in the fridge for an hour or so, then drain it. I slice the baguette, toast it and after it cools, thinly spread butter or cream cheese over it, then top it with the shrimp. This is an especially tasty dish on a hot day.
More Great Baguette and Crostini Recipes
That's my secret stash of fast and easy baguette apps. What's your favorite baguette app idea?