Aperitivo in Italy is an event of nibbles, small glasses filled with wine, Campari or Aperol and most importantly, an opportunity to socialize. Think of American happy hour but with a well-tailored flair.
For Christmas I bought Eddie the book Aperitivo, by Marisa Huff, as a sweet reminder of our epic 2016 Italy adventure. Most days in Italy we’d stop walking, biking, sightseeing, swimming, etc. about 5pm, spruce up, go have a drink and people watch. It was a warm summer in Italy last year and we were all too happy to sit and enjoy a salty snack and chilled drink.
Last week I had some friends over for an Aperitivo themed birthday party, but we just had moved the weekend prior so I was on the hunt for a low labor, high impact menu mostly centered on the company and little delicious bits. As always, I start the party menu planning process by opening cookbooks for inspiration and this time, a guide for crostini variations caught my eye!
The history and recipes in this “cook” book are enough to justify a purchase, but the photos will send you straight to the computer to check your frequent flyer miles in a flurry of wanderlust.
*Foodie note: I mixed the first batch of mayo in my ninja blender and the ingredients refused to emulsify. I scrapped the whole thing and started over with my Cuisinart mini food processor (a kitchen tool staple!) and the mayo recipe yielded a beautifully yellow, smear-able success. You can also use a hand or stand mixer.
Recipe: Tuna & Leek Crostini
Serves 6 as an appetizer
1 artisan baguette, such as Tall Grass Bakery (if you’re in the Seattle-metro area)
1 5oz can oil packed tuna, drained
1 leek, cleaned, white part sliced thin into rings
Italian-style mayonnaise (see below)
Makes about 1 ½ cups; keep left overs covered and refrigerated I for about a week
2 large egg yolks, preferably organic at room temperature
1 ¼ cups neutral-tasting vegetable oil, such as sunflower seed or grapeseed
Juice of ½ lemon
Fine sea salt to taste
¼ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
- Make the mayo: in a food processor or mixer, add egg yolks and ½ cup vegetable oil, a teaspoon at a time until the mixture has thickened. Add lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Gradually add the remaining ¾ cups vegetable oil and ¼ cup olive oil, mixing continuously. Season with salt to taste.
- Toast your bread: Heat oven to 425*F. Slice baguette into ½” slices on the diagonal, pour olive oil into a small dish and brush on one side of the baguette slices. Bake until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes; let cool on the baking sheet.
- Dress your crostini: Smear a layer of mayo on a toasted baguette slice, top with a little tuna and a few delicate rings of leek; repeat until all bread is properly dressed.
- Serve immediately and enjoy your company!