Sicilian Christmas Crostini
This recipe is based on the toppings of a traditional Christmas Eve Pizza eaten in Sicily. The bold flavors are reminiscent of a Sicilian relish called Caponata, but we’ve added an America holiday favorite to the mix – cranberries! The topping is best when made a day or two in advance. With abundant strawberry/cherry fruit flavors to highlight the cranberry element, the Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs is a perfect accompaniment to this festive crostini.
Yield: 24 pieces
1 1/2 c Onion – a medium size yellow onion is fine
2 T Butter
1 rib Celery
1 T Olive oil
1/3 c Sundried tomatoes – look for the soft kind packed in olive oil
1/4 c Black olives – oil-cured work best but Kalamata are okay too
1 T Italian parsley – curly will be just fine if that’s what you have
2 pc Anchovies (optional, of course)
3 T Dried cranberries – yes, you can use raisins or dried currants
1 T Capers
3 T Pine nuts - toast them briefly in a hot oven to crisp them
1 T Extra virgin olive oil
2 T Red wine vinegar
Pinch Black pepper, to taste
Pinch Salt, to taste
1 Long thin baguette
2 oz Italian gorgonzola – any good blue cheese will do but real gorgonzola is best!
Cut away the root, top, and peel of the onion. Chop into small pieces. Sprinkle with salt and cook slowly in butter over low heat in a heavy skillet until dark brown and caramelized. Stir frequently to prevent scorching! When cool, place in medium mixing bowl.
Cut celery rib lengthwise into five or six long strips, cut crosswise into small dice. Sauté the celery with a pinch of salt in olive oil until just barely soft – a little crunch is good.
Add to the onions in the mixing bowl.
Chop sundried tomato into small cubes the size of the celery dice. Pit and finely chop the olives. Rinse, dry, and finely chop the parsley. If using the anchovies, rinse them and mince into small bits. Add all of these to the mixing bowl along with cranberries, capers, & pine nuts. Next add the extra virgin olive oil and fold everything together.
Taste the mixture and season to taste with vinegar, salt, & pepper. The mix should not be sweet – so if you’ve used raisins and sweet onions you will need up to 3T vinegar.
Slice baguettes one inch thick and toast the slices until golden & crispy.
Drizzle each crostini with a little virgin olive oil and top with a rounded teaspoon of the topping mix.
Depending on the consistency of the cheese, place a tiny slice or crumble of gorgonzola on the top of each crostini.
Arrange on a serving platter and add a colorful garnish.