Tuna & Leek Crostini

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)

Olive oil

Italian-Style Mayonnaise

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy your company!