Crostini Neri - Black Crostini, Traditional Crostini of Loro Ciuffenna

  • 1/2 pound chicken livers
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 cup Vin Santo (or Marsala, broth, or water)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, packed under salt
  • 3 anchovies, cleaned with bones removed
  • Bread (Tuscan salt-free bread or a hearty, country-style bread)
  • Chicken broth
All chopping for this recipe can be done with the traditional mezzaluna, a double-handled half-moon shaped blade, or in a food processor. Be careful not to overdo it, as the livers in particular will quickly turn into a paste.

Wash and clean the livers, discarding any discolored areas, and brown in a sauté pan with 1 or 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. When livers are browned but not yet cooked through, remove from the pan and chop finely.

Finely chop carrot and onion and add to the sauté pan with the sage leaves and the rest of the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent but not brown; remove the sage.

Add the chopped livers and ground meat to the onion mixture. Mix well and cook over medium heat until the meats are well browned, stirring often. Pour the Vin Santo or broth over the meat, and cook off over high heat.

Rinse capers in several changes of fresh water. Chop the capers finely, and when the alcohol from the Vin Santo has cooked off, or the broth has reduced, add the capers and stir to mix, cooking briefly over low to medium heat.

Very finely chop prepared anchovies, even making a paste in order to distribute the flavor more evenly. Remove pan from heat, add anchovies, and mix well. At this point, test for seasoning. If necessary, add salt and additional oil to create a creamy mixture.

Slice bread into pieces about ¼ inch thick and more or less 2 inches square. Toast bread and dip one side quickly in warm broth. Spread the meat mixture onto the side of the bread that was not dipped in broth.
Garnish each crostino with capers or tiny onions if you wish, serve warm.

Yield: 6