There’s nothing like the fresh sea air and deep, open waters to spark up the appetite. Being amongst all that salt seems to work up a craving for the edible kind, but the heat of the sun and the diminutive size of a galley kitchen means simple is best – fresh, juicy tomatoes, finely sliced salty prosciutto, big bowls of spaghetti glistening with good quality oil, garlic and chilli. When you and your crew have been partying hard and are feeling fragile, you’ll become everyone’s favourite Yacht Weeker if you fix everyone up with a delicious late lunch inspired by all the flavours of Italy.
One of our favourite bloggers, Elle Graham-Dixon of Flo and Elle has some wonderful recipe ideas and we’ve selected one of our faves from her Tuscan series: Crostini. Its’ quick and delicious and can be whipped up in a yacht galley in easily multiplied volumes that’ll feed whoevers’ still kicking around from the night before….
This has become something of a lunchtime staple while on holiday in Tuscany with a selection of beautifully simple salads. They also work wonderfully as a starter or as part of a selection of canapés. They key is to assemble just before serving so the bread doesn’t go soggy. I have written down the recipes, if you can even call them recipes, for 3 of my favourite combinations – beautifully ripe tomato and basil, deliciously earthy mushroom and thyme, and the unusual fennel salami, finocchiona with rocket and parmesan.
As I understand it, the difference between bruschetta and crostini is that crostini tend to be made with finer textured bread, like a baguette, and to be smaller in portion size. I only had a white loaf to use so perhaps what I made would technically be called bruschetta but there doesn’t seem to be such
For the bread
24 small pieces of good quality bread – around the size of a slice of a small baguette and around 7.5mm thick (just under a centimetre)
4 cloves of garlic, sliced into thin pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Cover a baking dish with a thin layer of oil and rub the garlic around in it. Rub each side of the bread pieces around so they get a nice golden covering.
Heat up a griddle pan if you have one and toast the bread on each side so you get those attractive, and delicious, dark brown griddle lines across them
Otherwise grill each side in the oven, watching carefully so that they don’t burn
Put aside until needed
Tomato Crostini, 8 pieces
4 large plum tomatoes
½ clove of garlic, crushed
20 leaves of basil, torn up or sliced roughly
1 dessertspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
With such a simple dish it is important to get delicious, ripe tomatoes of any variety. You can use my quantities as a guideline and apply them to different tomato sizes
Slice your tomatoes lengthways and scoop the seeds out using your fingers. Discard the seeds.
Dice your tomatoes into small pieces around 7.5mm by 7.5mm
Squeeze out any remaining liquid and place in a bowl with the crushed garlic, basil, salt, pepper, oil and lemon
Leave until ready to assemble
Mushroom Crostini, 8 pieces
1 pack of mushrooms, 300g
1 clove of garlic
8 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked (otherwise sage is delicious, or parsley)
A small teacup full of wine (no need to be very precise)
Choose a mushroom variety you like, or a mix. Even those basic white mushrooms are delicious in this (also, remember that they shrink a lot when cooked)
Clean your mushrooms but try not to get them wet since this can wash away flavour
Dice them into small pieces of around 1cm by 1cm
Dice your garlic into small pieces
Heat up oil in a pan and add the garlic for a minute but don’t let it colour – take it off the heat for a bit if need be.
Add the mushrooms and thyme and stir around for a couple of minutes
Add the seasoning and wine and stir until all the liquid has evaporated
Taste to see if they are the right texture for you and if not, cook for a little longer
When ready, take off the heat and put aside until needed
Finocchiona, Pecorino and Rocket Crostini, 8 pieces
8 pieces of very finely sliced finocchiona
16 large pecorino shavings, shaved of a piece of mature, dry parmesan with a knife
A couple of handfuls of rocket
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
All you do is neatly arrange the finochiona on the bread, with rocket and a parmesan shaving on top and a final light drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of pepper. Simple!