Let's admit it –- good artisan bread goes stale quickly. It does not have the preservatives or dough enhancers commercial bread bakers add, so after a day or two, the bread has turned hard. However, that doesn't mean it should be discarded! Great recipes around the world are based on stale bread. From French pain perdu to Mediterranean fattoush, savvy cooks have put their day-old bread to use. A Roman method for repurposing bread turns your leftovers into crispy Crostini alla Romana, with melty cheese and salty accents perfect for a pre-meal bite.
The term crostini refers to toasted bread slices, usually thin and topped with a spread, meant to be a bite-sized treat. You'll see crostini variations all over Italy that might include tapenade, fresh tomatoes, or simply cheese. This Roman variety includes an umami-bomb that is sure to please your guests and keep you wanting just one more!
Making Roman-Style Crostini
These crostini start with thin slices of stale bread, which needs a bit of moisture to refresh the texture. A little butter or olive oil brushed on should do it, but in the case of really hard bread, you might choose a quick soak in the milk of your choice. This will result in a softer textured crostini, perfect for eating with knife and fork. Line the slices up on a baking sheet, and pre-heat the oven to 375.
The crostini are then topped with cheese –- fresh mozzarella is a good choice, sliced to cover the bread. The special Roman touch is anchovy paste, which adds saltiness and umami. Anchovies have been popular in Rome since ancient days, often included in modern pasta sauces to add depth of flavor.
If you are not a fish lover, prosciutto is a great substitute, or a sprinkle of capers would work perfectly for a vegetarian option. Place the baking sheet in the warm oven long enough to melt the cheese, and then enjoy. You'll never want to waste a scrap of stale bread again when you've tasted this delicacy from Rome!
Read the original article on Tasting Table.