Crostini with chicken liver pâté, or Crostini Toscani, is a warm and hearty starter. I suggest you serve your guests these tasty crostini, along with a very good glass of Chianti Classico, in front of a blazing log fire. Following some effusive conversation, move everyone to the dining table.
– 500g free-range or organic chicken livers
– 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
– 2 shallots, finely sliced
– 4 anchovies (optional) – I use the salted ones in jars
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
– 100ml vin santo (Tuscan dessert wine)
– salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 2 baguettes or ciabatta loaves
1. Chop the livers to a minced consistency (a mezzaluna is good for this).
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Sauté the shallots for 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add the anchovies, if using, and mash them with a wooden spoon until they dissolve into the oil. Add the bay leaves and capers, if using, followed by the minced chicken livers. Stir and heat through until the meat takes on a deep pink colour.
3. Pour in the vin santo and increase the heat momentarily to cook off the alcohol. Return to a medium heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Remove the bay leaves, then remove the pan from the heat and leave to rest.
5. Cut the bread into 12 slices and toast it lightly.
6. Spread some pâté on each slice of bread or place in small ramekins to let your guests serve themselves. Place on a serving dish and drizzle with a little oil.
I like the rough consistency of this pâté. If you prefer a smoother pâté, blend it to the consistency you like.‘In Italy, eating translates into saporous feasts, merriment and chat, and all guilt free. I had travelled from purgatory to heaven.’ So begins Eileen Dunne Crescenzi’s wonderful adventure with Italian food, culture and celebrations. In Festa the renowned restaurateur shares the recipes and memories that defined her many happy years living la dolce vita. For every occasion there is a recipe, and for every recipe there is a story about the trials and triumphs of an Irish food lover’s life in Italy.
Here the table is the soul of the home – a place to come together, share food and thoughts, and spend valuable time with loved ones. Eileen’s recipes are designed to create conviviality and make every occasion a cause for celebration, whether you’re planning an annual holiday feast, a catch-up with friends or a special homecoming. Fill your home with the aroma of wonderful food, the sound of clinking glasses and happy chatter, while you create memories that you will treasure forever. To buy your copy visit www.gillmacmillanbooks.ie.