Black crostini: typical tuscan appetizer
In Tuscany the black crostini represent the one and only authentic antipasto but there preparation is not always identical, it has changed in time and joins tradition and novelties.
The black crostini take up all the standard ingredients from the festive period and not only as explained by Michela Badii in her book “Cibo in festa fra tradizione e trasformazioni”: chicken livers, herbs, stale bread and vin santo were always in our grandparents cupboards., The reason for their success was probably due to the refined taste and the uniqueness of the dish: a refined and sophisticated recipe born from the simplicity d basic techniques of the farming cuisine. The recipe has been modified many times, the ingredients of the farming tradition have been substituted with more refined raw materials, the cookery method has evolved together with technology and the cooking time is a lot shorter.
THREE GENERATIONS IN COMPETITION
The oldest recipe for the crostini neri, our grandmothers’ one, is characterized by very long cooking times, at least two hours and by poor ingredients that are not well known today. In fact to the chicken livers one added the gizzard, the poorest part of the giblets, but a true specialty. Once the onion and safe where stir-fried, the minced meat with garlic and cooked win the vin santo, a desert wine made with grapes that have been allowed to dry, and that is aged at length, it is typical in the Tuscan countryside. Once cooked the capers used to be added and the anchovies. Our chef Roberta, here at Fattoria del Colle, follows this old recipe but adds a pear to sweeten the taste of the chicken livers and to give a touch of creativity and originality.
With the increase in wealth, the recipe was revisited: the gizzards disappeared, some families added minced meat, brandy substituted the vin santo and butter was added. This version made a real pâté, taken up and elaborated by the French cuisine.
In Tuscany gong towards innovation and progress, though still maintaining traditions and peculiarities the recipe undergoes some more changes: the ingredients are chopped with a knife to recreate the old style of a rough chopping and the cooking time decreases to 4 minutes to aid the new housewives who no longer have just the house work to do. The chicken livers chopped with garlic, onion and sage are put to macerate in the fridge with vin santo or white wine for 12 hours. The next day they get spread on slices of bread and cooked in the oven at 200C° for 3-4 minutes.
In Torrita di Siena every family has its own recipe, but this is my mum’s!
A handful of parsley, an onion, a stick of celery, a carrot, a garlic clove, extra virgin olive oil, 300 gr of chicken livers, 200gr of beef mince, half a glass of vin santo, a teaspoon of capers and an anchovy, stale Tuscan bread, salt
Chop the vegetables and lightly brown in oil, add the liver and salt.
Once ready (the colour becomes dark) mince them, put them in a pan adding the mincemeat and simmer with some vin santo. This procedure must be very slow. Add the capers and the anchovies, cook for another 5 minutes and take of the hob. Toast some stale bread, soften with some stock and spread the crostini mixture on top.