The raisins and red peppers in Sweet and Sour Crostini surprise the taste buds

04/08/2014 6:32 PM

04/08/2014 6:32 PM

Sight gags are jokes that rely on visual cues rather than words.

Imagine an apricot half positioned over a puddle of plain yogurt to mimic a “fried egg.” Or “sushi” made out of Rice Krispies and gummy worms, with fruit leather as a stand-in for the nori wrapper.

Food that appears to be something else is a fun way to get kids to try something new. And the ruse can work on adults, too. The Star’s Sweet and Sour Crostini deceives the eyes while it teases the taste buds. In this case, the chopped “olives” are really — gotcha! — raisins.

Why pull the ol’ switchroo? Olives are admittedly delicious, but they are high in sodium, so raisins are a smart choice for anyone with high blood pressure who is watching salt intake. A naturally sweet source of energy, raisins are also rich in iron and potassium. They’re high in antioxidants, and studies show they promote oral health.

The red peppers used in the bread topping are extremely high in vitamin C: 1 cup provides more vitamin C (232 milligrams) than the same amount of orange juice (82 milligrams), according to the USDA’s nutrient data base at nal.usda .gov/fnic/foodcomp/search. Red peppers also are loaded with phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, which is believed to prevent certain cancers and diseases of the eye and heart.

Finally, we chose a whole-grain rustic bread instead of white bread, which ups the nutrition and fiber content of the crostini, an Italian word that means “little toasts.”

Shopping tips:

Roasting red peppers in the oven or over a gas flame can be tedious. Instead, look for jarred roasted red peppers in the produce section.

Buy an extra jar of red peppers and a stash of raisins to keep in the pantry and you’ll always have something on hand to serve when unexpected guests stop by.

Cooking tip: An easy-to-prepare dish that is perfect for entertaining, the pepper mixture can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Just be sure to bring to room temperature before serving.

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