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Crostini Neri – the original Tuscan recipe

by Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

The origins “crostini” dates back to ancient times, when the dining table was not laid with single plates, but the food was served on large trays from which everyone would take what they desired and place it directly into their mouths, or if necessary placing it on a piece of bread.

This use continued until the end of the XVII century:  if you look at the paintings that represent the opulent banquets of the Renaissance, you will notice that the tables were very unrefined.

The piece of bread gathered oils, sauces, various pieces of meat, becoming very tasty and flavoursome.

These were the ancestors of our crostini; pieces of bread covered in a minced meat of  humble parts of the animals.

As the bread was usually quite hard (in fact it was made only two or three times a month), it was firstly used toasted and then soaked in broth or in wine to make it edible. For many years the chicken livers on toasted bread has been a “must” in the starters on nearly all Tuscany tables. They are prepared with many variations and it is very rare to taste two the same.

Typical during all the festivities, this is my grandma’s version:


Ingredients for 6 serves:

  • 500 grams of chicken liver
  • 6-7 sage leaves
  • 5-6 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • butter
  • ½ glass of Vinsanto
  • vegetable stock
  • 250 g white bread
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Clean the chicken livers by removing the long white strands and blood and rinse under running water until clear.

Braise the chopped onion in some extra virgin olive oil and one teaspoon of butter. Add the sage leaves and the chicken livers and braise them until they are pink inside.

Add one tablespoon of Vinsanto and when it has evaporated, add a bit of vegetable stock, salt and pepper.

Simmer for at least 15 min.

When cooked, add the anchovy fillets and capers , chop finely with a mixer.

Taste and add salt and pepper and a splash of vinsanto if necessary.

Roast small bread slices, spread the mixture and serve.


Blog post by Gianna Strambi – Cooking On Holiday – Montescudaio – Tuscany
www.cookingonholiday.com; blog: http://ilfrigochesussurravaricette.blogspot.it/

More recipes and dishes

If you’re a food lover, be sure to keep reading for links below to other posts introducing you to the world famous Florentine T-bone steak and the wonderfully named ‘beans in the style of little birds.’

Before you scroll down, click play on this quick 1 minute video from the Visit Tuscany YouTube Channel for everything you need to make Tuscan crostini neri. Try this classic appetizer for your family gatherings.

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