Crostini with butter & anchovies

Crostini with butter & anchovies

Crostini burro e acciughe

By
From
Florentine
Makes
4 crostini
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

In Florence, crostoni and crostini make popular snacks, whether for antipasto or aperitivo (depending on what time of day it is). Think of them as an open-faced toastie, usually grilled or served warm but not always. Most may immediately think of the famous bruschetta, a crostone of toasted, garlic-rubbed bread topped with tomato, olive oil and basil.

The difference between crostoni and crostini all comes down to size. The –one suffix in crostone (crostoni when plural) implies that it’s a big one, usually made with a wide slice of Tuscan bread. A crostino (crostini when plural), with its –ino suffix, is small, and made with baguette rounds or Tuscan bread cut into smaller pieces – you could finish one in about two bites. A large crostone might serve as a hearty snack or even lunch, or part of an aperitivo or antipasto if shared. Crostini make good starters and are almost always part of an antipasto platter, perhaps with a mix of toppings which almost always includes chicken liver pâté, amongst others such as this one.

These crostini balance the sweet creaminess of quality, unsalted butter with a salty kick from the anchovy, which makes this classic (and thrifty) combination such a good one. If you can, try to get anchovies conserved in salt rather than the ones in oil for this – the extra flavour is worth it. Salted anchovies just need to be thoroughly rinsed of salt in cold water (even soaked, some say, and do for at least 10 minutes) and then sliced in half lengthways and their spines removed – it pulls out easily – before using. Each salted anchovy gives you two fillets. If using regular anchovy fillets in oil, pull them out of the jar with a fork and drain each fillet thoroughly on paper towels before using.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 slices country bread, cut into two
or 4 slices baguette, about 1 cm thick
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed or drained

Method

  1. Toast the bread under a grill or in the oven lightly to dry it out and give it some crunch.
  2. When cool, spread the butter over the crostini and top with an anchovy.

Note

  • To get closer to the real thing, try an unsalted, cultured (also known as European-style) butter, which you may be able to find produced locally as well as imported. The more complex flavour and rich mouthfeel of this style of butter will mean a world of difference in this simple but very satisfying recipe.
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