Chorizo & Chickpea Appetizer with Perfect Crostinis

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Ingredients

Perfect Crostinis:
1 Lepp’s baguette, cut into ½ inch slices (about 20-24 per loaf)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (your most flavourful bottle)
2 Tbsp. dried oregano leaves (not powdered)
Cote d’Azur Fleur de Sel or Farmer’s Dotter Garlic Scape Salt (or a favorite salt blend, but use a coarse salt as it gives it a great little crunch)

Chorizo and Chickpea Appetizer:
1 – 4 pack of Lepp’s Smoked Chorizo (do not use fresh) about 12 oz.
2 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil (if using a chorizo that looks fatty, use only 1 Tbsp)
1 onion, diced
½ Tbsp. sweet smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
¾ cup red wine
1 tin chickpeas, 398 mls, drained and well rinsed
1 navel orange, cut in half.  Squeeze juice from one half and save, and thickly slice the other half
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2/3 cup raisins (if raisins are dried out, place in bowl and pour boiling water over to cover, let sit for 15 minutes and drain)
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 tsp. salt

 

A soft spreadable fresh cheese such as Chevre or Boursin.
Perfect Crostinis

 

Method

For the Crostinis:
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lay slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Take 2 slices and rub the olive-oil- sides together to make sure each slice has oil on it, so much easier than messing with a pastry brush!
Sprinkle with your favorite salt blend.
Sprinkle generously with dried oregano (dried spices are not very strong, so you want to use  enough to see lots of oregano leaves on the crostini!)
Bake for 5 minutes, turn oven to broil and continue to bake 1 more minute.
DO NOT GO CHECK ON THE LAUNDRY!
Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack so the underside of the bread doesn’t get soggy.  

For the Chorizo & Chickpea Appetizer:
Slice the chorizo lengthwise in half, and cut each half lengthwise again.  Slice into ¼ inch slices.  In a fry pan, over medium heat, warm oil and add chorizo, saute 5 minutes until beginning to brown.
Add chopped onion and cook until softened, add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
Sprinkle paprika over everything and cook for a few minutes, allowing the spice to “bloom” and develop the flavour. Add red wine, orange juice and thyme leaves, and stir well to mix ingredients. Lower heat to a simmer, and reduce to about half volume, 5 minutes or so.
Add chickpeas, raisins and vinegar, stirring to combine and simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavours to blend.  Gently stir in orange slices.  Generally people don’t eat the orange slices but it’s always great to use one of the ingredients as a garnish and it gives some lovely color to an otherwise beige-looking dish!
Taste and add salt, if desired.
This dish looks lovely presented on a long white dish, placing the cheese on one end, surrounding it with a few crostini, and spooning the chorizo mixture on the other end of the plate.  Garnish with a few fresh thyme sprigs.
To serve, encourage guests to spread cheese on a crostini and top with chorizo mixture.  Make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand!