name:English (United Kingdom) A taste of Siena: the black crostini

A taste of Siena: the black crostini

You cannot leave Tuscany and Siena, especially, without eating the crostini or other dishes made by the so called “quinto quarto”, the part of a cow (and not only) which was considered less precious in modern times.

Crostini are a simple food: a slice of bread, strictly Tuscan, without salt and oil, softly grilled and garnished with a kind of cream, made with chicken livers. Tradition tells that crostini must be present on important occasions and on holiday days. When the family yard was full of people and men worked in the field, coming back home to women who cooked for them. It was time to socialize together with the Easter and Christmas meals, and the occasion was celebrated.

The grandmother tradition

Most of the people, excluded the Youngs, remember crostini as a comfort food, made by their grandmother. The traditional recipe often contains single variations that every single woman invented by herself to better the original mix of ingredients.

So it may happen that you eat them in many different ways. Gather a small group of women around this issue and you will see them arguing and even quarrelling about what they use to cook them or about the special, magic, ingredient learned from someone of their family.

Some time ago, we met a Tuscan Blogger, Giulia Scarpaleggia, a true, naturally born Tuscan girl, blogging about food. The recipe we are proposing you comes exactly from her aunt, Teresa.

Photo Credits Giulia Scarpaleggia

To buy at the market

300 g spleen

1 medium onion

1 carrot

1 stalk celery

1 sprig parsley

1 clove garlic

1 heaping tablespoon pickled capers

1 glass red wine

Tomato sauce, to taste

Anchovy paste, to taste


Extra virgin olive oil

2 hard boiled eggs to decorate


What to do in your kitchen

First and foremost, clean the spleen. Extract the pulp from the spleen by scraping it with a large tablespoon so that the pulp meat comes out. Gather the spleen in a small bowl.

Mince carrot, celery, parsley, garlic and onion.

Warm a large tablespoon of olive oil in a non stick saucepan and gently sauté all the minced vegetables. When they are soft add the spleen and stir until it becomes brown and is cooked through.

This is the moment to add a glass of red wine: let it reduce and add a bit of tomato sauce to redden the spleen spread. Now, remove from the heat and add the minced capers.

As with the other Tuscan crostini, do not add salt but stir in some anchovy paste to taste to add saltiness.

Spread on a slice of Tuscan bread.

Add some slices of hard boiled egg to give a nice colour contrast and soften the strong flavour of spleen.


What we advise you to drink

We think that food is social. And you are in Siena. Never forget to have a glass of wine in your hand. A good basic Chianti will do!

You don’t trust yourself for cooking? Ask our hotel first class restaurant!

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