Today, crostini two ways: first, freshly shucked oysters and smoked bacon (aka Devils on Horseback) and second, the perfect 6 1/2 minute soft-boiled egg topped with freshly cured anchovies from Santoña (the anchovy capital of Spain).  Both versions feature grilled whole-wheat sourdough bread (that I brushed with the drippings from the bacon).  I could eat this everyday and be one happy camper; these flavors resonate deeply with me.  The ingredients speak for themselves such that you don’t need to do much to make them shine.

Just a few short years ago, I had never even encountered an anchovy, be it fresh or cured.  Now, I can’t get enough of them (love these oily little guys, especially fresh out of the ocean or cured in a bit of vinegar and olive oil).  A few months ago, I had never shucked an oyster.  Now, I can do so, albeit rather slowly, and am happy to report that I still have all ten fingers intact.  Perfecting the soft-boiled egg has been trial and error.  Frustrating at times, but ever so rewarding when you finally — after several failed attempts — get it just right.  That’s the thing about cooking, and, well, just about anything, you learn from your mistakes (and I’ve made quite a few) and are all the more wise (hopefully) for it.

Not sure what I was doing wrong in the past, but this technique for soft-boiled eggs is full-proof.  Boil some water, carefully drop the eggs in the boiling water, and set your timer for exactly 6 1/2 minutes.  Scoop the eggs out and place in salted ice-cold water (which makes them extremely easy to peel).  Voilà.  It’s that easy.


I had bookmarked a recipe for Devils on Horseback a little while back.  Devils on Horseback typically denotes dates wrapped in bacon, heated until the bacon is nice and crispy and the dates tender — an enticing play on sweet and salty.  However, this particular version calls for oysters sautéed and plumped in garlic, green onions, butter, and wine — atop sourdough rounds weeping with oyster liquor.  When the oysters are swapped in for the dates, the “devils” become “angels.”


Found these anchovies at a great little Spanish market.  If you’ve never had anchovies freshly cured in vinegar and olive oil, you’re in for a treat (they are fabulous!).  They are nothing like the salt cured variety (which I also happen to enjoy).  Instead of the dried and shriveled salt-cured preparation, these guys are plump and juicy with just a hint of vinegar, packed in lots (as you can see below) extra-virgin olive oil.

Also referred to as boquerones, gavros, or white anchovies…delicious.

Egg and Anchovy Crostini

Adapted ever so slightly from Beginnings by Chris Cosentino
Serves 4
2 extra-large eggs
4 thick (~3/4-inch) slices of your favorite bread (used whole-wheat sourdough)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chives (cut into 1/2-inch lengths)
4 to 8 marinated white anchovy fillets packed in olive oil and vinegar
Capers (optional)

Have ready a bowl filled with salted ice water (the salt helps the shells come off the eggs more easily). Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the eggs and cook for 6 1/2 minutes. Scoop the eggs out of the water and immediately immerse them in the ice water to cool completely, about 5 minutes. Peel the cooled eggs, being careful to keep them intact; reserve.

Heat a stove-top grill pan over medium heat. Brush the bread on both sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and then season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the bread, turning once, until etched with grill marks and crisp on both sides.

Rub the top side of the bread with the whole lemon, which releases the natural oils of the zest to flavor the bread. Then, finely grate the lemon zest. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the parsley and chives.

Cut each egg in half lengthwise and place one egg half, cut side up, on each piece of bread. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Top each egg half with 1 or 2 anchovy fillets and some of the herb mixture. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with the lemon zest and a few capers. Serve right away.

Note: If you can’t find freshly cured anchovies, you can substitute with salt-cured anchovies.


Devils on Horseback

Adapted from Saveur
Serves 4
2 to 3 slices bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, plus one whole garlic clove peeled
4 thick (~3/4-inch) slices of your favorite bread (used whole-wheat sourdough)
3 scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup white wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons. lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
8 plump oysters, such as Blue Point, shucked, with juices reserved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Roughly chopped parsley, for garnish

Cook the bacon in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving the bacon fat for another use. Roughly chop the bacon into 1″ pieces.

Brush the bread on both sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil (or with the reserved bacon fat if you so desire) and then season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the bread, turning once, until etched with grill marks and crisp on both sides. Rub each slice of toasted bread with the whole garlic clove.

Heat the butter in the skillet. Add the chopped garlic and scallions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes (making sure the garlic does not burn). Add the wine or sherry, lemon juice, oysters with their juices, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the oysters begin to curl at the edges, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the oysters to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Continue to cook the sauce until thickened and reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Divide the oysters and sauce among the toasted slices, top with the reserved bacon and garnish with parsley.

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