Starters

Crostini recipe, the tuscan starter

During Christmas most Tuscans probably have chicken liver crostini (chicken liver pâté over toasted bread); the real traditional recipe is made in most homes but is also always found in restaurant menus.

The word crostini literally refers to the bread (named frusta), similar to a baguette where the patè is spread.Throughout Tuscany each family makes its own version and everybody loves crostini... actually kids do until somebody decides to let them know it's chicken livers they're eating!

You'll find them on every table along with salumi and a flask of red wine! I love to add vinsanto while the chicken livers are simmering as this gives them a sweet taste and takes the livery aroma away.
Ingredients
  • 2 loaves for toasted bread slices
  • 400g chicken livers
  • 50g butter
  • ½ an onion
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • broth
  • salt and pepper 
Preparation
  • It is very important to clean the chicken livers before starting this preparation.
  • The chicken livers look clean, unfortunately they have a tiny membrane around them which is connected to a small central vein, there might be some blood so wash it away, next check if there is any yellow fat, that too must be removed but the most important  are the green specks of bile that if you do not discard will give the patè an awfully bitter taste.
  • Gently fry the onion in the butter, then add the chopped chicken livers and leave to cook for approximately 20 minutes, do not overcook or the livers will become hard and chewy.
  • Take out the chicken livers and then add the capers and anchovy fillets and chop everything as finely as possible *. Season and continue cooking, adding a little broth every now and again if the mixture becomes too dry. Spread the mixture on toasted pieces of bread which have been quickly dipped in the hot broth. This dish has many variations. 
  • Pickled vegetables can be added or, for example, carrot, celery or tomato. One particularly popular variation uses chicken livers and spleen. The recipe is more or less the same, but with approx. 150g of veal spleen and perhaps a glass of white wine or vinsanto. * tips many people use food processors,
  • We advise you to be patient and use a knife, it's tiring but it will give the patè the right texture. It shouldn't be liquid or too smooth. Chopping everything up by hand will give your patè the perfect consistency.

Cover image credit: Mariko Assato

&
Food and Wine