We have just finished the olive harvest here in Tuscany and my pantry is full of bottles of just pressed olive oil. The oil is green in colour and peppery in taste. All the neighbours are bringing us their oil to try, which ofcourse they pour generously over a fresh piece of Tuscan bread and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
I have been using the green winter vegetables in the garden to come up with yummy healthy crostini recipes and all are complemented so well by this years new olive oil.
I recommend trying all three of the recipes and I am certain you too will think they are seriously yummy too!!
Crostini with a Broad Bean, Pea and Pecorino Puree
Serves 4 – 6 as a canapé
50 g podded broad beans 30 g frozen peas,
8 slices of pancetta ½ baguette, sliced for crostini
1 handful mint leaves, picked 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
Large handful of pecorino, grated 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon Sea salt and cracked white pepper
Blanch peas in boiling salted water for about 30 seconds just to stop them being frozen, you are not needing to cook them through. Remove the peas and refresh in iced water, don’t discard this boiling water. Add your garlic clove to the boiling water and allow to cook for a couple of minutes and then add in the broad beans and cook for 3 minutes. Check one bean to check they are cooked before straining them and refresh into iced cold water. Remove the outside skin simply by pushing the inner green bean out of the white shell and complete this process with all of the beans.
Using a pastry brush lightly coat one side of your crostini with the extra virgin olive oil, 50 ml should be enough to coat at least 15 – 20 serves. Cook in a moderate oven only 150 degrees until they have become crisp, you do not want them to become too brown.
To crisp the pancetta, place on a tray and either cook under a grill or in the oven at 170 degrees. Cook until it becomes crisp, drain on some absorbent paper and set aside.
To make the puree: in a mortar and pestle place your peas, beans mint and soft boiled garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt and pound until you form a smooth paste, some of the peas and beans will still be chunky, then add in the cheese and pound again. Mix in the olive oil and lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper. Check to see if it is balanced in flavor, I like to have the lemon coming through. On a platter lay out your crostini and then spread over some of your puree on each and then break of a piece of crispy pancetta and place on the top.
Crostini with Cavolo Nero e Prosciutto
Serves 4 as a canapé
400 g cavolo nero 6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil,
6 slices of prosciutto, halved 1/3 loaf Italian bread
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half 30 gm Reggiano parmesan
Sea salt and cracked white pepper ½ tsp cooking salt
Wash cavolo nero (also known as kale), discarding hard stems. Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a saucepan and put in ½ tsp cooking salt and then place in your cavolo nero and boil for about 10 minutes, the liquid will reduce as you are cooking it. Then strain the cavolo in a sieve and reserve the cooking liquid. Meanwhile place a bowl under the sieve that has the cavolo and using tongs extract as much for of the liquid from the cavolo as possible. Slice your bread into slices about 1 cm thick and cut each piece of bread in half to make it a good crostini size (you should end up with about 12 slices) and rub your garlic on each piece of bread. Place your bread under the grill to toast it a bit on both sides. At the same time place your prosciutto slices on another tray and cook them under the grill until they are crisp.
To prepare your crostini, sprinkle the reserved cooking liquid that you extracted from the cavolo and then place your cavolo leaves on top of each crostini and season with a little sea salt and cracked white pepper, drizzle generously with your olive oil and then top with crisp prosciutto and parmesan shavings.
Crostini with Smashed Broccoli, Olive Oil and Garlic
Serves 6 for canapé
1 broccoli 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced in rounds sea salt
12 slices Italian bread, cut into crostini cracked white pepper
Break your broccoli into large pieces including the stem and place into a pot of boiling salted water. Cook the broccoli for at least 7 minutes until it is quite soft and the stem has cooked through. Strain the broccoli and place in the fridge to cool.
Place your bread under the salamander or grill and cook until it has browned slightly on both sides. Heat ¼ cup of your olive oil in a fry pan and add the garlic, cook on a low heat until the garlic becomes nut brown. Add in the broccoli and season with some sea salt and pepper, sauté for a couple of minutes and use a fork to mash the broccoli so that it becomes like a puree but still leaving some chunky pieces
Check the seasoning and adjust. Drizzle the remaining olive oil onto your crostini and divide the puree between them, squeeze a little lemon juice on each crostini and serve.