I just returned from a very special week in my beloved Montalcino, Tuscany. I was blessed with being able to rent a little casa surrounded by the prized Brunello vines on the hillside just outside the walls of the village….my view was of the sweeping Sienese valley as the sun set just outside my window each evening. Simply magical….but more on my travels in the week ahead! The food of Tuscany is simple, rustic and gloriously delicious…the simplicity of the flavors married with the freshness of ingredients makes every meal a delight for the senses. The Tuscans love to serve crostini as their antipasti – crostini topped with the freshest ingredients from tomatoes to onions to one of my favorites – a bold, lively green sauce made from parsley and basil. I have been home one week and have used this delicious sauce on crostini, pork, and a garden-fresh tomato and mozzarella salad. The liveliness of the sauce is balanced wonderfully by the flavors of capers, anchovy and garlic and takes only minutes to whirl together in the food processor. I am posting the crostini recipe here which I paired with creamy fresh mozzarella but could easily just be used to top the crostini alone. This is one sauce that I will keep in my repertoire and use again and again….enjoy!
Tuscan Crostini with Salsa Verde
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 medium cloves garlic
1 medium or 2 small anchovy fillet
2 tablespoons capers (drained, if packed in vingegar; soaked, if packed in salt)
1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 loaf Italian bread (for crostini)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds to fit bread
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Make salsa verde: In a food processer, puree the basil, parsley, garlic and anchovies. Scrape down the sides and slowly add the olive oil, until combined and smooth. Add the lime juice. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Slice bread on a diagonal for the crostini and lay on a baking sheet.
4. Place one round of mozzarella on top of each piece of bread. Place in oven and toast until cheese is melted and bread is toasted (around 5-8 minutes). Keep an eye on the bread as it can burn very easily!
5. Remove from the oven and plate. Drizzle salsa verde sauce atop the crostini and serve immediately. Enjoy!!