Grissini (Crisp bread sticks)

One of the things Tuscans like when the summer heat makes them  dizzy and lazy is enjoying a chilled glass of wonderful Prosecco with crisp grissini and a couple of dips. Neither this lovely white sparkling wine nor the long, brittle and slender bread sticks have a Tuscan origin. The first one, in fact, comes from the Veneto/Friuli Venezia Giulia region,

the latter from Piedmont. The reason for the huge success is probably because when the temperatures are really high, you just want to drink something nice and fresh and eat little and light snacks. Obviously there are many recipes, all delicious, but I wanted to start with the most simple version. First you want to understand what it tastes like, then you can add chopped kitchen herbs, spices or seeds and create your own special grissini.

  • 500 gr. all-purpose flour
  • 15 gr. yeast
  • 50 gr. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small spoonful sugar
  • 8 gr. salt
  • 280 ml lukewarm water

Sift flour into a large bowl, make a well in the center, add the crumbled yeast and the sugar as well as a little lukewarm water. Mix delicately to dissolve the yeast. Now add a little at a time olive oil, salt, flour and the remaining water. Work the dough thoroughly until it is smooth and elastic. Give the dough an oval shape, sprinkle the surface with a little

olive oil and cover with a plastic wrap. Leave to raise until the dough has doubled in bulk. With a sharp knife cut finger sized pieces, roll and tear if they are too thick and place on a baking sheet. Bake for totally about fifteen minutes at 200° C first from on, then from the other side. The grissini must be crispy and golden brown. Once they are cold they can be stored in airtight containers for about three days.

Cut a couple of eggplants in half lengthways. Place on a baking tray and bake at fairly high temperature until they are soft. Scrape the flesh out of the skins. Blend together with olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly chopped basil or peppermint to taste. Serve at room temperature.

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Eggplant dip

Cut a couple of eggplants in half lengthways. Place on a baking tray and bake at fairly high temperature until they are soft. Scrape the flesh out of the skins. Blend together with olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly chopped basil or peppermint to taste. Serve at room temperature.

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Cheese dip

Blend your favorite creamy cheese qualities like ricotta, gorgonzola, mascarpone. Add yoghurt, fresh cream or milk for the right consistence. Flavor with salt and nutmeg. Serve cool but not chilled.

Anneliese Rabl …. finding a life in Tuscany

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