Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crostini con Fegato e Salvia

Hands up all of you who know that tomorrow is the last day of the month.  Okay, smarty-pants, you can put your hands down now.  And you in the back?  No one said to stand so stop showing off.  After 50 years of operating under the Gregorian calendar on a daily basis you’d think I’d have this February thing down pat.  Not so.  Today I was happily making my recipe for +belleau kitchen's Random Recipe Challenge, for which the deadline is normally a couple of days before the end of the month.  And I was thinking that I was cutting it close but would nip in under the wire.  I finished cooking, and eating, and sat down to write this, first just heading over to Dom’s to make sure I had the link correct and saw to my horror that the February recipe round up boat had sailed.

Which makes me sad.  So, let me share something with you that made me happy, albeit briefly, today.  It was the Chicken Liver Crostini from Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer’s Tuscan Cookbook.  I know chicken liver is not for everyone but I think more people would give it a chance, especially cooked like this, if we called it something different.  After all, look how many people eat pâté without a thought of liver!  Chopped Foie Crostini?  Or, since this is supposed to be Italian, how about Crostini con Fegato e Salvia.  Doesn’t that sound better?  Just give me a minute – Gotta change my title.  Okay, I'm back.  On to the recipe!

3 tablespoon butter
live oil
10 1/2 oz or 300g chicken livers, cleaned
8 sage leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tiny capers
2 tablespoon fresh flat-leaved parsley
8 slices baguette
1 clove garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and lay your baguette slices out on a baking tray.

Cut your livers into 4-5 pieces each.

Mince your sage leaves and chop your parsley.

Go ahead and measure out the capers and set them aside since it can be tricky to get them out of a small-necked bottle without their liquid.  And you don’t want their liquid, just the capers.

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add in a little drizzle of olive oil.  Toss in the sage quickly followed by the livers and fry for just a few minutes.

Add in the capers, vinegar and parsley and increase the heat to reduce the liquid.  You want to do this quickly so you can keep a little pink inside the livers.  I figured they were done and enough liquid was gone when the butter started popping at me.

Transfer the livers, herbs and capers to a large cutting board, leaving behind the butter, and chop the lot into small bits with a sharp knife.

Return it all to the frying pan and stir it into the little butter that was left.   Taste a small piece and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil (I forgot this step and, frankly, didn’t miss it.) and toast in the oven until golden.

Rub a clove of garlic on the toasted bread or crostini.

Pile on the liver mixture and serve immediately.  If you have spare sage leaves, they make a pretty garnish.


Tuscan Cookbook
 was randomly picked number 27 in my Eat Your Books list and, as per Dom’s Random Recipe Challenge #25 rules, I made the recipe I opened to randomly.  But it was delicious and I would definitely make it again.  I had planned to tell you all about this beautiful book, written by two icons of Australian cooking.  About how it was written with the menus of their teaching holidays when Ms. Alexander and Ms. Beer would rent a villa in Tuscany and explore markets and cook with their students.  There was much laughter and good wine and delicious food and this is a cookbook I love to read as much for their camaraderie and adventures as the recipes.  But I just don’t have the heart anymore.

Random Recipes #25 - Feb

But make sure to head on over to Dom’s blog and see all the lovely recipes from the smart people who know what day it is.


  1. Ah, liver is on my list of things to try. Then to try to like. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Well, then chicken liver is the place to start. it is the least strong of any, in my opinion. And I would probably add a couple of more tablespoon of butter the next time I make this.

  3. you're not the only one who forgot that February is a short month!... what an incredible dish... I think chicken liver is one of my all time favourite things ever, so for this dish I award you a billion stars... thanks so much for entering, absolutely gorgeous stuff!!

  4. Love love LOVE chicken livers and this recipe is for me - I have some calling my name in the freezer so this weekend - I'll be making this. Pinning!

  5. Fabulous recipe... I love liver and this looks absolutely amazing!

  6. Thanks, Dom! Wow, a billion stars! That ought to tide me over for years to come. And thank you for adding us stragglers on at the end. You are a sweetheart!

  7. I thought you might like this one, Kelli! Guess what? The package I bought was bigger than I needed for this recipe, so I thought of you and wrapped the balance up in bacon strips and popped them in the hot oven too. (No time for marinading like your lovely rumaki recipe but they were delicious just like that.)

  8. You know, I learnt how to make this from an 80 yr old chef on one of my trips to Tuscany and her method was pretty much like the book, though we used white wine (!) and the chicken livers were cooked down into oblivion. Delicious

  9. Good to know that Aussies cooking in Tuscany can still be fairly authentic, Fiona. Might try it with white wine the next time. It was already dry enough without cooking the livers to death though. My plan is more butter!

  10. Stupid February and its stupid lost days. I'm sorry you were left on the dock, but I'm so glad you shared this! You're so right about just calling liver something else. It would never occur to me to eat whole chicken livers, but mash them up and call them pate? I'm all over it! Yummy, friend Stacy.. :)

  11. Good news! Dom is a sweetheart and he turned that boat back around to come and get me. :) Apparently there were a few of us waiting forlornly on the dock. Whole chicken livers with smothered onions are also lovely, Jenni, but I am sure you are not the only person who would be a reluctant diner at my table for those.

  12. I love your photos! They are always so inviting. Liver never ever looked so damn good! :)

  13. If only we had your beautiful hands in there instead of mine, we could convince the world, Katerina! Liver is good! We just need to convince the people!

  14. Oh YUM! Great idea - and I"m sure they were delicious as well - That crostini just looks fantastic even first thing in the morning! :)

  15. I adore chicken livers, so tasty (and such good value!). This would be a perfect dinner for when I'm home alone.

  16. It was my dinner when I was home alone, Suzanne! But I saved some for my husband to try when he got back from his travels. He declared it pretty tasty so I was pleased.


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