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Roasted Fennel and Prosciutto Crostini with Cranberry-Citrus Marmalade

Fresh cranberries and satsumas make a bright, festive garnish for this crowd-pleasing starter. Bake the crostini, cook the marmalade and roast the fennel earlier in the day, then assemble everything before your guests arrive. Created by Chef Michael Gulotta, these crostini are a simple but sophisticated nosh for holiday gatherings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette, about 8 oz., cut on the bias into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 10 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice of 3 satsumas or clementines
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 5 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into large strips

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and generously brush with the 1/4 cup olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and lightly golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Let the crostini cool to room temperature.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, the 3/4 cup sugar, the vinegar, the satsuma zest and juice, 1/4 tsp. of the red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. of the ground fennel seed and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the marmalade cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut the stalks and feathery fronds off the fennel bulbs and reserve some of the fronds for garnish. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise and lay the halves cut side down. Cut the fennel lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices.

In a large bowl, stir together the fennel slices, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, the remaining 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, the remaining 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Place the fennel slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the fennel is tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble, top each crostini with a slice of roasted fennel and some prosciutto strips. Add a dollop of the marmalade and garnish with a fennel frond. Makes about 28 crostini.

Adapted from a recipe by Michael Gulotta, Restaurant August, New Orleans.