Adventures in Eating: Crostini Toscano
Rosemarie | November 1982
It has been a whole 10 days since our return from Italy, and time to write this column. I can no longer feign jet lag and put off writing. Paul has politely directed that it get done.
We only covered parts of Northern Italy, and sampled its wines, glorious pastas and antipastos. It is just about impossible to get a meal that is not delicious in any trattoria you walk into. Each chef seems to have his or her own pasta “concoctions”. The pastas melt in your mouth.
One of my favorite antipastos was served in the Tuscany region. It is a kind of liver pate that is spread on toasted bread. It is not as heavy as the standard pate, and a welcome change to the palate.
1/4 lb chicken gizzards trimmed & chopped fine
1 large bay leaf
1/4 cup marsala, vin santo or madeira
7 Tbls unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 lb firm whole chicken livers trimmed,rinsed, & patted dry
1 tsp rounded salted capers
1 anchovy fillet, drained
Salt & Freshly ground pepper
Dash nutmeg & Tabasco
16-20 slices (each 1/4 inch thick) heavy textured Italian or French bread. Not the light fluffy variety.
Heat 2 Tbls. of the butter in a large, heavy non corrodible skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, add onion; saute until tender and golden, about 2 mins. Add chopped gizzard and chicken livers, salt, pepper and other seasonings. Add bay leaf and saute stirring frequently about 5 minutes. Stir in wine and tomato paste into mixture; cook uncovered stirring, until wine has evaporated and livers have lost their pinkness, about 2 mins. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf; set aside to cool.
Rinse capers well under cold running water. Drain; pat thoroughly dry with paper towel. Chop coarsely with the anchovy fillet; add, with 3 Tbls. of the butter, to the gizzard mixture. Transfer to cutting surface; using fork or knife, chop mixture to a coarse paste. If you are careful, this can be done in a food processor. DO NOT OVER PROCESS, it must be tiny bit lumpy. Taste for seasoning; adjust salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat oven to 375. Spread one side of each bread slice with a thin layer of the remaining 2 Tbls. butter. Place buttered side up on baking sheet; bake until dry and slightly colored (10mins). To serve, reheat liver mixture and spread lightly on warm toast. Serve immediately.
Think Italy while you smack your lips. Bon Appetit.