Friday, January 29, 2010

toast a what? tostapane...

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


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.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6


Amy Sherman said...

Uh oh, I think I need one of those!

Sadie said...

I'm reading your blog on about the Tostapane and remembered that Judy Witts Francini brought one for me when I met her in Mexico last month and I never got it from her.I will have to send her an e-mail. My Auntie had one for years and she used it all the time, they certainly make a great gift. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

After seeing your toastapane on one of your T.V. segments, I went on a search throughout the Bay Area and online for a toastapane. Unfortunately, I could not locate. I found something very similar when I was browing in a Japanese store one day. It's not Italian but it works. The Japanese cook uses it to grill fish. It is very similar to the Italian version, however a bit smaller, approx. 8"x*8". You can find at Soko Hardware in S.F on Post Street and Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley on San Pablo Ave. Cost is less than $4. My husband prefers it over the toaster to toast bread.

Joanne Weir said...

I think Judy might have been the onbe that introduced me to the tostapane years ago. That's so cool you found something like it at Soko Hardware in Japantown. That's right near me. I'll check it out! I agree, great for bread!

Anonymous said...

Here is the toaster

Anonymous said...

Just came home a week ago from Rome with a tostapane and have used it every day since. Not easy to find, even in Rome's hardware stores. Mine cost 10 euros. Makes fantastic toast. Thanks so much for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I got a tostapane. How do you clean it?

Joanne Weir said...

Clean your tostapane like the Italians do.... After it's cool, tap the edge of it a few times into the sink. The crumbs will fall off. Don't wash it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. That's what I've been doing, also using a dry brush. For others seeking a tostapane, my former husband (fluent in Italian) ordered several on ebay Italia after I told him about Joanne's cooking show episode using one. Now we both use them constantly. They took a few weeks to arrive but there were no problems. Again, thank you so much for introducing us to it and for the cleaning info! I love your show!

Anonymous said...

I just purchased tostapanes on-line from this website -

They were $28 each plus shipping. They just arrived and I can't wait to try it!

DBrown said...

Fantes Kitchen Shop in PA has them for $13.99:

And thanks for the cleaning tip. I wondered about that. And that makes sense as it looks impossible to truly clean!!

Anonymous said...

Found mine at

They have a graticola as well as a tostapane (pannini maker).

Anonymous said...

Google the word "brustolina"

Necco said...

Fante's Italian Kichen in Philadelphia also carries them:

john smith said...

the only vegan place I can find is Cafe Proverbs. Glad there are so many options now.

Unknown said...

Hi Joanne! I just bought mine online from Fante’s Kitchen Shop! $15.99 + shipping and tax cane to $22.00. Well worth it!

The "Phan-den" Family said...

Can you use on an electric stove top?