Make Italian Style Toast
Take your toast game to the next level with these Italian style recipes.
Featured in the cookbook, Food For Sharing Italian Style by Lilliana Battle (New Holland, $45), these recipes show you how to transform simple slices of bread into Italian flavour sensations!
Make them at your next shindig and we guarantee you’ll have people going back for seconds and thirds.
The following recipes are extracts from Food For Sharing Italian Style.
Avocado Smash – Italian Style
This is my take on the classic Australian breakfast dish, Avocado Smash. Drizzling balsamic syrup on avocado may seem strange, but the salty flavors of the prosciutto and the sweetness of the balsamic syrup really enhance it. You can buy balsamic syrup, but it’s easy to make yourself and last ages in the fridge. I have included the recipe here.
This cafe style breakfast can feed as many as you like, just adjust the quantities accordingly. All the elements can be prepared, then assembled all at once and served on a big platter. Top each one with a poached egg if you like.
4 thick slices ciabatta, or other thick bread
4 slices prosciutto
1 1⁄2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped salt
Freshly ground black pepper
100 g (3.5 oz) fresh ricotta
3 tbsp seeds (I have used nigella seeds)
3 tbsp balsamic syrup (recipe follows)
500 ml (18 fl oz) balsamic vinegar 4 tbsp brown sugar
Drizzle the ciabatta with a little olive oil and grill or toast until golden.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Lay the prosciutto onto a baking paper lined oven tray and cook for 10 minutes, or until crisp. Set aside.
Peel and de-seed the avocados and place in a bowl with the lemon juice, minced garlic and basil. Roughly smash with the back of a fork. Don’t mash it too smooth, you want texture. Season with salt and black pepper.
Spoon a quarter of the avocado mix onto each piece of toasted bread. Crumble a little ricotta over each and sprinkle with seeds. Drizzle with a little balsamic syrup and top with a slice of crispy prosciutto.
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring every now and then, until mixture is thickened and syrupy.
This recipe makes about 240 ml (8 fl oz) of syrup. Store chilled in a sealed jar for up to one month.
GOT LEFTOVERS? The balsamic syrup keeps for a couple of weeks. Store it in a sealed container in the fridge. Use it to drizzle over a salad, chicken or fresh tomatoes. Also surprisingly good over strawberries and ice-cream.
Crostini are the perfect blank canvas. Basically little rounds of toast, you can top them with whatever you like. Ripe tomatoes with basil and salt, or a smear of pesto or creamy ricotta, or a slice of your favourite cheese. You are only limited by your imagination and what you’ve got in your pantry.
To make crostini, cut a baguette, French stick, small ciabatta or similar bread into 1 cm (0.4 in) slices. Drizzle with a little olive oil and either cook on a grill plate or bake in the oven until golden and crisp. I like the black char marks you get when cooking them on the grill.
Once cool, store in an airtight container. Top with your favourite ingredients prior to serving.
I’m always experimenting with new flavour combinations, try these:
Kalamta Olive Tapenade with Ricotta and Thyme
Make a tapenade by blitzing 175 g (6 oz) of pitted Kalamata olives with a small garlic clove, 2 anchovy fillets, 1 tsp capers, 2 tbsp olive oil, the juice and zest of 1⁄2 a lemon, and some freshly ground black pepper. Spread some fresh ricotta onto each crostino, top with a spoonful of tapenade, a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh thyme leaves.
Broad bean, Roasted Capsicum, Feta, Balsamic Syrup
Cook frozen or fresh broad beans in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and pinch the skins off. Mash and combine with some finely chopped red onion, chopped fresh basil, mint, a little chili, lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil until you have a chunky puree. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon onto each crostino, top with some roasted capsicum (bell pepper), crumbled feta and a drizzling of balsamic syrup.
Stracchino, Salami, Tomato and Fennel
Stracchino is a beautiful creamy Italian cheese. If you can’t find it use mascarpone instead.
Spread each crostino with some stracchino cheese, top with thinly sliced salami, sliced fresh fennel, quartered cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of crushed fennel seed.