A Quick & Tasty Appetizer from Friendship Village’s Executive Chef, Nicole Hassen

November 13, 2018 | Recipes | Reading Time 2:00 Minutes

Our Executive Chef, Nicole Hassen, delivers restaurant-style dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and bold flavors from a menu that reflects a wide range of choices and tastes. Nicole trained at the Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago and the Oakland Community College Culinary Arts program. She has more than 15 years of culinary experience and has been with Friendship Village as Executive Chef since 2015.

The meals Nicole and her team prepare are more than just great tasting … they’re also good for you. Our dining options are always a reflection of our commitment to optimum nutrition. What about individual food restrictions? No problem. We can easily accommodate any special diet.

As you might expect, Chef Nicole has a few culinary tricks up her sleeve, but she’s always happy to share a recipe or two of her favorite dishes. Here’s one for Pea Pesto Crostini that’s not only delicious but incredibly healthy and nutritious, too!

Pea Pesto Crostini

  • 10 oz frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (plus extra for seasoning)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus extra for seasoning)
  • 8 slices whole-grain baguette or ciabatta bread (preferably day old, ½ inch thick)
  • ⅔ cup olive oil (divided)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (halved or 1 small tomato, diced)
  1. Pulse together the peas, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in a food
  2. With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup of the olive oil until well
    combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a small
    bowl and set aside.
  4. Preheat a stovetop griddle or grill pan on medium-high heat.
  5. Brush both sides of the sliced bread with olive oil and grill until
    golden, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Top each slice with 1-2 tablespoons of the prepared pesto.
  7. Top with tomato halves.
  8. Serve and enjoy!