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Criss-cross bread Maremmano style

  • 4 thick slices of Tuscan bread
  • 600 grams very ripe tomatoes
  • 8 fresh spring onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • a large pinch of dried oregano
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Cut thick slices of bread (about 3cm) from the centre of a long Tuscan loaf, put them on a red hot grill in order to cook them crisp on the outside but soft in the middle. Turn them in different directions several times to obtain the criss-cross pattern on both sides which gives them their name. While the bread is grilling, put 4-5 spoons of oil in the blender together with 200grm of the tomatoes, 4 spring onions, the parsley, 2 garlic cloves, salt and pepper, blend into a cream. Separately slice the remaining tomatoes and onions. As soon as the bread is grilled, arrange the slices on a tray and rub each one with the garlic, heavily spread over the blended tomatoes, and cover first with slices of tomato and then slices of onion. Season, moisten with olive oil and serve as a hot starter or in larger portions as a quick lunch.
This stems from a simple Maremmana usage, this variation of “oiled bread” can be zipped up still further with a little chilli powdered over the last layer. The quality of the ingredients is fundamental, as in all such rustic dishes, therefore it is important to use seasonal ingredients and not be taken in by the shopkeepers offers.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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