Smoky cilantro pesto beef crostini

Angie Horkan with the Wisconsin Beef Council has a delicious appetizer for entertaining on the patio this summer.

  • 2 beef Ranch Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
  • 24 slices baguette bread, cut diagonally 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup grated Cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Smoky Cilantro Pesto:

  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 small chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Cotija cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Prepare Smoky Cilantro Pesto. Place cilantro, pine nuts, chipotle peppers, garlic, lime juice and black pepper in food processor container. Cover; process until finely chopped. Add cheese; pulse on and off until just combined. With motor running, slowly add oil through opening in cover, processing until smooth.

Cook's Tip: For less heat, remove seeds from chipotle peppers.

Spread 1/4 cup pesto evenly onto beef Ranch Steaks. Place steaks in glass dish. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes to 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining pesto.

Cook's Tip: Two beef Flat Iron Steaks (about 8 ounces each) or 4 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick, may be substituted for Ranch Steaks. Grill Flat Iron Steaks on charcoal grill, 10 to 14 minutes (on gas grill, 12 to 16 minutes); grill Tenderloin Steaks on charcoal grill, 10 to 14 minutes (on gas grill 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Arrange 12 bread slices around steaks. Grill steaks, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill 12 to 16 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Grill bread slices 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning once. Remove bread slices from grill. Repeat with remaining 12 bread slices.

Spread 2 teaspoons remaining pesto on each toasted bread slice. Carve steaks into thin slices. Place beef slices evenly over bread slices. Top evenly with 1/4 cup cheese and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Cook's Tip: Grated Parmesan cheese may be substituted for the Cotija cheese.