Pane, Burro, e Acciuga (Bread, Butter, and Anchovies Crostini)

August 8, 2019 Updated: August 8, 2019

These crostini are an ode to simplicity, with rich, creamy butter and briny anchovies. This recipe is timeless and elegant, at home on any countryside table laid for a feast, be it for a wedding, a birthday, or a rowdy family gathering.

The simplicity doesn’t allow for any compromise on quality. Choose the best butter you can afford, rich and if possible unsalted, and the best anchovies you can find. I usually prefer preserved whole salt-packed anchovies, which have a more intense flavor, but good anchovy fillets packed in oil would work as well.

As I tend to keep these ingredients in my pantry and in my fridge, this is one of the appetizers I most often serve when unexpected guests show up at the door.

Over the years, I have gradually refined our rough family recipe—butter and anchovy paste mashed into a grayish mess and spread on a slice of bread—by choosing good anchovies and butter, and adding a paper-thin slice of lemon (both for the color and the taste) and a fresh mint leaf.

Makes 4 crostini

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 slices Tuscan bread, slightly toasted
  • 2 whole anchovies packed in salt, or 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 1 thin slice of lemon
  • Fresh mint

Generously spread butter over slices of bread. 

If you are using anchovies preserved in salt, rinse them under running water to remove extra salt and divide them into fillets, removing all the bones. If you use anchovies in oil, just drain the excess oil. Lay one fillet over each buttered slice of bread.

Cut the slice of lemon into four wedges. Add a wedge of lemon and a mint leaf to each crostino. Share and enjoy.