This recipe is from Tuscany.
Crostini are an important part of Tuscan cuisine and feature as the antipasto on high days and holidays. They consist of small pieces of lightly toasted bread topped with a variety of ingredients. Last summer I did a post about the traditional toppings which you can read here, however you can really put what you want on top as things come in and go out of season.
It’s currently asparagus season in Tuscany, one of my favourite vegetables, so I decided to make these asparagus. In Tuscany the traditional pane sciocco—bread made without salt and baked in a wood fired oven—is used for crostini but you can substitute any bread you have locally. If the bread is salted (as most bread outside Tuscany is) you might want to use less salt in the recipe as crostini toppings are traditionally made quite salty to compensate.
These make a lovely spring starter to accompany an aperitif or even a delicious light lunch.
Crostini agli asparagi
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
32 pieces of asparagus
4 hard-boiled eggs
8 anchovy fillets
4 tablespoons olive oil
a good pinch of salt
8 slices of rustic bread
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil.
- Cut the tips off the asparagus in about 2cm (1 inch) lengths.
- Put all the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for about four minutes.
- Drain the asparagus in a colander and run under cold water for a few minutes.
- Reserve the asparagus tips and put the rest into a food processor with the hard-boiled eggs, the anchovies, and the salt. Blitz for a few seconds.
- Turn the food processor on and add the olive oil in a single stream until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Cut the slices of bread in half and place on a baking tray.
- Paint the surface of the bread with extra virgin olive oil and then put under a hot grill until they just begin to brown.
- Allow the bread to cool and then top with the asparagus paste.
- Garnish each slice with the asparagus tips and a little black pepper and shavings of parmigiano reggiano.