TUSCAN RECIPES … today, CROSTINI with Olive Paste
Nonna Margherita Dottorelli in her Kitchen, 1905
Here are some excellent Tuscan recipes from her granddaughter Marta, who refuses to be just a character in a novel called “The Whirling Girl” made up by that writer!
But look what she has done now…!
This woman who writes a book she calls The Whirling Girl has gone on the radio to talk about my recipes.
Of course she gets them wrong. And again she gets it wrong about me, Marta Dottorelli — telling the people on the radio that I use a little “Cuisinart” for the chopping of my olives for the crostini (which I am going to tell you about today).
But no no no. I am going to give you my very simple and delicious recipe for which only two hands are needed and a good sharp knife.
Crostini made with black olives or green olives
Crostini are the favorite pre-lunch or pre-dinner bites I like to make.
Very easy and molto versatile, little round slices of bread that have been toasted in the oven or on a grill – or on a “grill pan” – then brushed with very good olive oil, and spread with a variety of delicious things: chopped chicken liver paste for example, or chopped prosciutto, or grated pecorino cheese (in this case put under the grill. after the cheese is applied) or – in my recipe here – a paste made of either green or black olives.
“What is the difference between black and green olives?” the beautiful Signora Chiara asked me, one day.
But when I explained she did not listen.
She was thinking of that young Italian who is married.
She did not listen about the olives, and she did not listen about the young Italian. And when I told her to go down to the Church of San Angelo in the valley and say some prayers, she did not listen to this either.
She smiled her smile of a beautiful angel caught in a net of the not-good life she lived before she came to this house of her dead uncle, where I do all the work and she dreams her foolish dreams.
Black olives and green olives come from the same trees, but the black ones are left to ripen longer; this is all.
To make the olive paste
You will need olives without pits, either green or black. If you keep tins of these in your cupboard, ecco! you will have a nice appetizer at a moment’s notice.
But if you need to use olives that have pits, this is very easy. Just spread the olives on your wooden chopping block and cover with the flat side of a knife and hit the knife with your fist. They are then easy to peel the flesh from the stone….
Chop a nice amount of either kind of olive, black or green. As they begin to be chopped, pour on very good olive oil and chop some more, along with as many peeled cloves of garlic as you want (more is better).
Chop all this together until it is quite fine, then in a dish stir in more oil until you have a lovely glistening mixture.
Store in your fridge, and when you are ready to serve, apply to the rounds of freshly-grilled oil-brushed bread.
Please do not use store-bought “toasts” that call themselves crostini and please do not grill your toasts in the morning and hope to serve them in the evening. They will be stale and hard and without the right taste.
And remember what I have told you before. As we say in Tuscany: To eat well is the best revenge.