This irresistible spread comes from Carol Field’s equally irresistible Italy in Small Bites.
Is it possible to imagine anything more pleasurable than sampling the tastes of Italy, morsel by divine morsel?
Cooking my way through Field’s collection of merende or between-meals-snacks and appetizers has been a very slow process as I can’t get past the Irresistible Spicy Crostini. The spicy Roman crostini also look tempting – olive oil and red wine vinegar with parsley, basil, anchovies, garlic and chilli flakes with breadcrumbs to thicken – but the old favourite continues to tantalise.
There’s a long list of ingredients so I suggest you double check each time you make it. It is all too easy to forget, say, the capers as I did when making the shopping list. Each ingredient contributes something special to the whole, but it is nigh on impossible to de-pack the individual components, especially after the spread has sat and mellowed for an hour or two. The hard-boiled egg yolk for instance is virtually indefinable but it does add richness and mellows the piquant flavours.
Small children view this spread with a great deal of suspicion but most over the age of 10 will find it intriguingly delicious.
Serve with a chilled glass of our favourite Soave – 2007 Tommasi Le Volpare Soave
Piquant & spicy spread for crostini
2 slices sourdough or large ciabatta cut 2cm thick, crusts removed
3 tbsp (scant) red wine vinegar
6 large anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp, generous salted capers, rinsed well and drained
4 very large or 5 small hard-boiled egg yolks
12 large green olives stuffed with pesto (available at delicatessens), roughly chopped
freshly ground pepper
half cup extra virgin olive oil
Lay the bread on a flat plate and sprinkle with the vinegar. Leave for 10 minutes then squeeze the bread to remove any excess vinegar. Break up the bread roughly and place in a food processor. Add the anchovy, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, capers, egg yolks, olives, pepper and olive oil. Process until it comes together as a spreadable paste but still with some texture. Serve with freshly made crostini.
For the crostini: slice ciabatta or sourdough baguette, brush with olive oil and toast till golden.