Maremman crostini

Maremman crostini

Crostini maremmani

By
From
Acquacotta
Makes
20 crostini
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

Crostini are always present in a classic Tuscan antipasto and they come in many shapes and forms, but the classic toppings (and the most popular) are the crostini di fegatini (which you find closer to Florence and are also called crostini neri, crostini toscani, ‘black crostini’ and ‘Tuscan crostini’) and crostini Maremmani, which are a Maremman relative of the Florentine ones.

While the classic crostini di fegatini are topped with a smooth pâté of chicken liver, the topping for Maremman crostini is essentially a ragu, a mixture of minced (ground) beef and chicken liver, with the addition of anchovies and capers for some punchy savouriness. It’s an excellent antipasto for a large party or gathering, as the topping can be prepared in advance. And for those who aren’t keen on the richness of the pure chicken liver in classic crostini toscani, this is a delicious alternative.

Crostini are great as finger food, so use small, easy-to-hold, easy-to-bite slices of bread. Serve them on a large platter along with some slices of prosciutto and wedges of pecorino cheese for antipasto.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 baguette or similar, cut into 1 cm slices
4-5 capers
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
200g minced beef
150g chicken livers, whole
2 anchovy fillets, either preserved in oil or cleaned salt-packed ones
1 tablespoon tomato paste
160ml dry white wine

Method

  1. Dry out the slices of baguette in a low oven until crisp but not coloured. Set aside.
  2. If using salt-packed capers, first rinse off any excess salt under running water, then place the capers in a bowl full of fresh water and let them soak for 15 minutes. If using capers in brine, simply drain and pat dry.
  3. Put the finely chopped onion, carrot and celery in a wide frying pan with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the beef, chicken livers, anchovies and capers and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the meat and livers are browned, about 5–10 minutes.
  4. Once browned, transfer the pieces of liver to a large chopping board.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring to incorporate it, then pour over the wine. Let the wine cook down until the mixture is almost dry, about 7 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, with a sharp knife or mezzaluna, chop the livers finely. You can go as rustic as you like and leave them roughly chopped, or if you prefer a smoother topping, you can put them straight into a food processor and pulse until you have a thick paste. Return the livers back to the pan.
  7. Add enough water to cover the ragu, about 750 ml, and bring to a simmer. Then turn down to low heat and cook for 40 minutes, topping with water as necessary. After about 30 minutes, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  8. Place the warm ragu on top of the dried baguette slices and serve as antipasto.

Note

  • The ragu can be made in advance. When you need it, reheat with about 60 ml of water and bring back to a simmer before topping the crostini.
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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