Fresh, Salty and Simple: Prosciutto-Basil Crostini

This quick little recipe combines three tasty, savory ingredients: prosciutto, basil and French bread. It's light, it's salty, it's herby, it's crunchy. Would more could you want in a finger food? Just be sure to use the freshest ingredients so each one can stand out on its own. Since it's a Martha Stewart recipe, I'll have to admit it's perfect. I didn't change a thing -- the only thing I did differently was use a toaster oven (and write up a simpler ingredient list).

Serves: 4-6 Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 12 slices of baguette (1/2 small baguette, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 1 tablespoon sea salt (or to taste) Freshly ground pepper 24 fresh basil leaves (at least about 1/2 the size of each bread slice) 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (or 12 slices of prosciutto)

1. Lightly brush both sides of each bread slice with oil. Season with salt and a little bit of pepper.

To heat, using an oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer bread to a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until pale golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer sheet to a wire rack or plate; let crostini cool completely.

To heat, using a toaster oven: Preheat toaster oven to 300 degrees. Toast bread until pale golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer sheet to a wire rack or plate; let crostini cool completely.

2. Place two basil leaves and a folded slice of prosciutto on each bread slice. Drizzle lightly with oil. Season with a little bit of freshly ground pepper.

My Notes: Oven or toaster oven? I'm sure most chefs and many foodies would insist you use a regular oven. But if you have a small kitchen like I do, you probably don't want to heat up that corner of your living space for a few slices of bread. I prefer to use the toaster oven because it uses less energy and the bread heats faster.

What kind of prosciutto? Because this recipe calls for so few ingredients, it's important to make sure you use good quality ones. You could go with a pre-packaged prosciutto but I find those sometimes tend to be a bit slimy. I prefer to use freshly-sliced Canadian prosciutto from the Whole Foods deli. It's definitely not soggy and is quite lean -- just the way I like my prosciutto.

Why freshly ground pepper? Believe it or not, freshly ground pepper tastes different from the more commonly-used coarse grind pepper. Grinding the peppercorns releases their oils and greater flavor. Plus, this fresher variety makes your finished crostini look even more beautiful.