*****Whenever I think of eating liver it reminds me of the episode of Doug where Patti Mayonnaise invites Doug over for dinner, mentioning that the main course will be liver and onions. Doug freaks out, and tries ridiculous methods to make himself enjoy liver and onions (assuming that he’ll hate it). When he gets to Patti’s house and finally tries it, he discovers that he in fact, loves liver and onions. As a picky eater, I thought Doug was the strange one for liking something so peculiar. It wasn’t until years later that I finally understood the message of the episode: to try new things. It was with this episode in mind that I invited a few of my picky-eater friends over to try Chicken-Liver Crostini, a poor man's foie gras if you will. Each of them nervously took first bites, and then reached for seconds.
At this moment I’d like to pause to shamelessly plug a store in Berkeley that I can’t live without. If you don’t live in the East Bay, move on to the next paragraph. Everyone in the right place? Excellent. I would commit ritual suicide if not for Ver Brugge, an old-school butcher that sits across from theÂ giant Safeway on College Ave. They don’t have a website, nor do they care for one. I mentioned that I was writing a blog post and wanted to mention them, their response: "What’s a blog?” They take orders on 3”x5” notecards and place hand drawn signs showing their specials on the glass window in front. Most importantly, they give a level of attention and provide a selection that I miss while shopping at giant supermarkets. Also, they actually had chicken livers. If you're looking to make this recipe, avoid Safeway (Von's, Albertson's, whatever your local equivalent is called), and seek out your nearest butcher/poultry shop. My favorite part of this recipe was setting cognac aflame. There’s definitely an element of showmanship to this recipe that one can use to impress a hungry crowd. Any recipe that involves caramelization via flaming alcohol is cool in my book. In fact, I probably have it bookmarked. I took the recipe’s advice and left everything in the food processor until it was very smooth, and I was rewarded with an impossibly rich, inexpensive spread for baguette or crackers. The recipe suggests pairing this with a crisp white wine, I'd go with fava beans and a nice chianti.
Recipe by Marco Canora, as published in Food & Wine Magazine.
- 1 pound chicken livers
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 sage sprigs
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 anchovy fillet, minced
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1 large baguette, thinly sliced
- Trim the chicken livers of any sinews and veins and set them on paper towels to dry for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350Â°. In a large skillet, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, sage and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced anchovy and capers and cook over low heat until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes longer. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the chicken livers for 1 minute longer. Stir in the onion mixture. Add the cognac and carefully ignite it with a long match. Cook the livers until the flames subside.
- Discard the herb sprigs and scrape the contents of the skillet into a food processor; let cool slightly. Pulse until chunky, then season with salt and pepper.
- Place the baguette slices on a large baking sheet and toast them for about 15 minutes, until they are golden and crisp. Spread the baguette toasts with the chicken liver and serve.
Recipe Source: LickMySpoon.com.
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