Chicken liver pâté crostini

Chicken liver pâté crostini

Crostini di fegatini

By
From
Florentine
Makes
20 crostini
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

Also known as crostini toscani or crostini neri (‘black crostini’), this dish is the definitive Tuscan antipasto. Rustic, tasty, cheap and sensible, these crostini are a constant on the menu of every trattoria in Florence, not to mention the kitchen tables at every special occasion, whether it’s Easter, a birthday, Christmas or any family gathering in a Tuscan home.

Naturally, there are as many recipes for crostini di fegatini as there are cooks in Tuscany, with a few tweaks here and there. Usually, salted anchovies, capers or both are present – they provide that trademark Tuscan saltiness. Some like it smooth and some like it chunky, some go halfway. Red wine, stock or simply water can be used to cook the livers instead of the vin santo (the preference of Marco’s nonna). And some like to add a few walnuts – a chef friend in Florence once told me it helps lend the pâté a nice, dark colour.

While these crostini are relatively simple in terms of presentation, for a classic Tuscan antipasto, serve these together with a platter of salumi, such as paper-thin slices of prosciutto and fennel seed-studded finocchiona, and wedges of pecorino cheese.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 baguette
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
5 capers, rinsed and patted dry
2 anchovy fillets, drained of oil
500g chicken livers
100ml vin santo, (or Marsala)
2-3 walnuts, optional

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C.
  2. Slice the baguette into 1 cm thick rounds and dry out in the oven for about 5 minutes before turning them over for another 5 minutes. The bread should be dry to the touch, but not browned. Set aside.
  3. In a wide frying pan, cook the onion gently over low heat in olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the capers and anchovies and continue to cook gently for a few minutes until the anchovies melt down.
  4. Add the chicken livers and cook until browned on all sides, then add the vin santo and the walnuts, if using. Cook on low, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, adding water if necessary to keep the mixture moist. Season with salt and pepper and add the rest of the butter and let it melt.
  5. Transfer the hot mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until mostly smooth (or all smooth, if you prefer).
  6. Place heaped tablespoons of pâté onto the bread rounds and serve warm, if possible, or at room temperature. Alternatively, serve the warm pâté in a ceramic bowl with the bread rounds next to it and let guests help themselves.
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