Thanksgiving Appetizers for an Italian-American Dinner

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD for Conversational Italian for Travelers books

Thanksgiving appetizers — a few bites to nibble on while the main meal is being prepared — are great for guests and keep up a cook’s energy in the kitchen as well!

The Italian method of topping a slice of crusty Italian bread with a savory treat works well for Thanksgiving. Below are two recipes for crostini toppings that can be prepared ahead of time. The first is a white bean puree and prosciutto with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The second crostini topping is my version of a liver appetizer that I had once during lunch at a farmhouse in Tuscany, using turkey liver and caramelized onions.

If you have a chance during this busy time, leave a note and let me know what your Italian-American Thanksgiving will be like this year. Does your family make pasta along with the turkey? Or even skip the turkey entirely?

          Please reply. I’d love to hear from you!
Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

Buona Festa del Ringraziamento!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving Appetizers


Crostini with turkey liver and caramelized onions

 

Bake the crostini:

Slice the bread thinly and brush with olive oil.
Rub a piece of garlic on the bread or brush a very little bit of garlic in the jar on the bread.
Bake in the oven at 400° until the edges brown.

Caramelize the onions:

For 1 medium onion: Cut the onion into thin, small crescents as follows:
Cut the onion crosswise. Put cut side down and cut in half lengthwise. Continue to cut slivers of onion lengthwise to form small, thin crescents of onion.
Put the onion slices into a frying pan with 1 Tb butter, 1 Tb olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Cook on low heat, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes, until onions have completely softened and lightly browned.

Cook the turkey liver:

Rinse the turkey liver and put it into a small frying pan with 1 Tb butter and 1 Tb olive oil.
Add a small clove of garlic that has been crushed.
Heat the liver and garlic over medium high heat, turning to brown the liver and then reduce heat to medium/medium low in order to cook through.
Remove garlic.
When the liver is just cooked through (cut in half to check), add 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or Marsala wine and turn the liver in the vinegar.
Let cool. Break up the liver with a fork into small crumbles.

Assemble the crostini:

For each piece of garlic toast: Put onions and then cover with liver crumbles.

Crostini with turkey liver and caramelized onions

Bake the crostini as in the first recipe

Prepare the beans:

Put the following into a small saucepan:
1 (15 oz.) can of white beans, 4 fresh sage leaves, 1 clove of garlic, smashed (skin off)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt/white pepper
A little water, and more water as needed for cooking.
Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
Cook about 30 minutes or more so flavors can blend.
Cook off most of water by the end so puree won’t be too thin.
Off heat, remove garlic. Puree beans.
Adjust salt/pepper and swirl in 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil.

Assemble the crostini:

For each piece of garlic toast:
Put white bean puree on bottom of toast and then top with prosciutto curled up.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

 

Buona Festa del Ringraziamento!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com
The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

 

 

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