Monday, September 2, 2013

The art of the schmear

Ok, I finally did it—I made the mortadella smear crostini. When I first saw this recipe in Saveur magazine I was slightly horrified because I very rarely eat cold cuts from the deli, especially ones that aren't nitrite or nitrate free. But I admit that I was intrigued by this recipe too, because it was elegantly presented in a rustic sort of way. I also thought 'hey, people eat deviled ham and liverwurst'... And it's sort of like that. And so the adventurous gastronome in me prevailed!

Let me break it down for you. This is a purée of mortadella (an Italian bologna that you've probably had in an Italian sub, and which you can easily find at any deli) mixed with whipped cream and other good stuff so it becomes light and fluffy, like a mousse. In fact, think of this as a Italian pâté. Then the pillowy mousse mixture is smeared onto a crusty piece of bread, topped with crushed pistachio nuts, and drizzled with a sweet, thick, balsamic vinegar glaze. Wow! I know it sounds weird, but it all balances beautifully... crusty, unctuous, sweet and slightly tart. Ridiculously good. See more recipes using this smear here, where it's stuffed into a ravioli. So be adventurous too, this is a fun appetizer!

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