Crostini: Five of the best (recipe)

Crostini
Crostini Toscani

 

If you go into any restaurant in Tuscany and look on the menu, under antipasto you’ll find crostini. Rather akin to bruschetta,crostini are slices of Tuscan bread, lightly toasted, and then loaded up with a wide variety of toppings of which chopped tomatoes with basil is only the beginning. The usual suspects are, fresh tomatoes or tomato paste, chicken liver pate, and salsa della nonna (grandma’s sauce) a kind of mixed vegetable sandwich spread.

Most restaurants will offer the traditional ones and then one of two of their house toppings. Indeed sometimes they serve them with a selection of the pasta sauces on offer. When I am catering traditional Tuscan meals, I always have crostini on the menu. Below are five of my house toppings for you to try.

Crostini
Crostini Toscani

 

Pane tostato (toast)

Tuscan bread is made without salt, and so often the toppings are a little extra salty to make up for this. If you can’t get saltless bread, you can use thinly sliced baguette (no more than 1/2 cm / 1/4 inch thick). Lightly brush one side with olive oil and toast, upper side only until lightly brown. Then add the toppings and serve. Buon appetito!

 

#1: Burro, acciughe, e capperi (butter, anchovies, and capers)

Burro, acciughe, e capperi
Burro, acciughe, e capperi
Serves 6
Ingredients
100g (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
6 slices of toasted Tuscan bread
6 anchovy fillets
20 capers

 

Method:

1. Spread the butter thickly on the bread.

2. Lay an anchovy fillet diagonally over each slice of bread.

3. Put two capers on either side of the anchovy fillet to create a percentage mark shape.

 

#2: Pomodoro e basilico (tomatoes and basil)

Pomodoro e basilico
Pomodoro e basilico
Serves 6
Ingredients
4 San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
6 basil leaves, finely chopped
6 slices of toasted Tuscan bread

 

Method:

1. Chop the tomatoes into quarters. Deseed them and then finely dice.

2. Mix the tomatoes with the olive oil.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Add the chopped basil leaves and stir.

5. Place the mixture on top of toasted Tuscan bread and serve.

 

#3: Cipolle caramellate con peperoncino (caramelized onions and chile)

Cipolla caramellata con peperoncino
Cipolla caramellata con peperoncino
Serves 6
Ingredients
3 onions finely chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar of Modena
6 slices of toasted Tuscan bread

 

Method:

1. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat.

2. Add the onions, turn the heat right down and cook for 10 minutes being careful that they do not burn.

3. Season well with salt and then let them cook very gently for another twenty miniutes.

4. Add the chile flakes and continue to cook for five minutes.

5. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow to cook for another five minutes.

6. Allow to cool completely.

7. Spread on the toast and serve.

 

#4: Porcini e caciotto (Porcini mushrooms and cheese)

Porcini e caciotto
Porcini e caciotto
Serves 6
Ingredients
a knob of butter
200g  (7 ounces) fresh porcini mushroom, roughly chopped
salt
pepper
6 slices of toasted Tuscan bread
6 slices of caciotto cheese
Method:

1. Melt the butter in a frying pan.

2. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, and saute for about 10 mins. Allow to cool.

3. Spread the mushrooms on top of the toast. Top with a slice of caciotto cheese.

4. Place under a grill until the cheese has melted. Serve.

Note: if you can’t find caciotto cheese, any medium-firm Italian cheese such as provolone or scamorza will do.

 

#5: Olivi (olives)

Olivi
Olivi
Serves 6
Ingredients
200g (7 ounces) pitted green or black olives
10 capers
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 slices of toasted Tuscan bread

 

Method:

1. Put the olives, capers, garlic, and olive oil in a mixer and blend until you have a smooth paste.

2. Spread the paste on the toast and serve.

 

6 thoughts on “Crostini: Five of the best (recipe)

  1. Ah that’s one of my favourites too. I buy the topping for that one though since it’s easier. Delicious!

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