Crostini - one bite wonders that combine an infinite number of spreads, toppings and drizzles with a simple slice of toast. As elemental or elaborate as you like. All begin with stirato, a form of ciabatta that is cut into lengths and then stretched just before baking to make an Italian baguette.
Originating in the middle ages, tiny crusts of grilled bread (crostini) were used in place of plates soaking up all the juices and flavors of their toppings. Little has changed today when a thin slice of toasted bread spread with savory or sweet ingredients makes a delicious appetizer with an Italian aperitivo or a unique dessert. The most classic crostini is Tuscan crostini neri. Also known as “crostini di fegatini", it is found on the menu of almost every local trattoria in Tuscany especially in the Sienese region The name comes from the main ingredient used to make the topping and the dark color of the spread. Traditionally made with chicken livers, onions, celery, carrots, capers, fresh herbs and butter it is a typical, authentic Tuscan recipe and every family has its own way of making it. Here is one popular variation.
Black Crostini - Crostini Neri
8 slices of Tuscan bread 1 lb of chicken livers (with sinew removed). 4 anchovies preserved in olive oil 1 spoon of capers preserved in salt 1 carrot 1 onion 1 celery stick 1 glass of dry white wine (we like to use Vin Santo) Extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt as required
Chop up the celery, carrot and onion and saute' in a heavy skillet with a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken livers and brown. Deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine and allow it to evaporate. Cook the chicken livers until slightly pink then add the anchovy fillets and capers which have been thoroughly rinsed. Allow the ingredients to cool and blend adding a little extra virgin olive oil to make a smooth consistency. Toast slices of Tuscan bread and spread the chicken liver paté on top.
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