A tostapane? What's that, you ask? Where can you buy one? What do you do with a tostapane? Bruschetta is my favorite!
If you speak any Italian at all, immediately you realize what the word tostapane means.... Toast bread. It's a pretty simple concept! This square tin perforated grate is set directly on a gas jet (yes, you'll need a gas stove). You put a piece of bread on the screen and turn the heat on high. Turn the bread occasionally with tongs and within a few minutes, you'll have a toasted piece of bread with slightly smoky flavor. Leave it to the Italians to invents such a cool little contraption.
I love my tostapane and use it all the time for bruschetta and crostini. But trying to buy one in the US is pretty much impossible. Hey, if you find a source in the US, let me know!
Planning a trip to Italy? If so, make your first stop the hardware store. You'll be able to pick up a tostapane there. When I find them in a store, I buy the entire stock. They don't cost much, probably 5 or 6 euro each, but they make great gifts for your chef friends who have everything.
12 slices rustic country-style bread, 1/2 to ¾-inch thick
1 clove garlic, peeled
Your BEST extra virgin olive oil
Kosher, fleur de sel or Maldon salt
Place the tostapane directly on your gas stove over high heat. Place the bread on the tostapane in a single layer and toast until golden. Using tongs, turn the bread and continue to toast on the second side until golden. Remove from the heat. Rub one side of the toasted bread with the whole clove of garlic. Using a pastry brush, brush the toast with olive oil.
To serve, place the bruschetta on a platter.
Serves 6 hungry Italians
WARM WILD MUSHROOM, ARUGULA, AND BRUSCHETTA SALAD
Here's what you do if you don't have a tostapane yet. Imagine a garlicky crostini smeared with virgin olive oil topped with arugula, warm wild mushrooms, and a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. Is it a salad? Is it a crostini? Who cares! It’s yummy!
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 small shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms, (if unavailable, use button or cultivated mushrooms) trimmed, cleaned and cut in half
6 cups arugula
1 clove garlic
6 slices coarse-textured Tuscan bread
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
6 ounce chunk Parmigiano Regginao
In a bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallot, salt and pepper. Reserve.
Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the wild mushrooms and cook, stirring until golden brown and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
Toast the bread on the outdoor grill, under the broiler or in a toaster. Rub the toasted bread with garlic and sprinkle with salt.
In a bowl, toss together the arugula and vinaigrette. Place one piece of bread on each plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Divide the arugula between the plates and place on the top of the bread. Top with the mushrooms. Immediately shave the Parmigiano onto the top.