Chicken Liver Crostini
Onion or shallots
White wine or Marsala
Even those who cannot stand liver will like this.
You will want 3 to 4 chicken livers to begin with, about a tablespoon of onion, and a couple of teaspoons each of the remaining herbs, and the amount of prosciutto fat that comes from one or two slices.
The spread is done when the chicken livers are completely cooked; it takes about 10 minutes of simmering (with constant stirring) after you return the ground mixture to the stove.
A variation on the standard crostini di fegatini di pollo has you mince 2 teaspoons each onion and prosciutto. Sauté the mixture in a dollop of olive oil, and when it has browned, add 3-4 minced chicken livers and 4-5 leaves of sage.
Sprinkle with white wine, let evaporate, and when the livers are half done, remove them from the pan and mince them to a fine paste with the sage.
Return the mixture to the fire, season it with salt and pepper, stir in a teaspoon of flour to bind it, and finish cooking it over a low flame, moistening it with broth, or more white wine, and a pat of butter as you remove it from the flames.
Somebody suggests you also stir in a tablespoon of grated Parmigiano just before you remove the paté from the fire.
Once the mixture is ready, spread it on thinly sliced bread. Tuscan bakeries make special crostini loaves shaped in profile like the suits of playing cards.
Elegant, but a baguette will work as well. Serve as an antipasto.
1 cleaned, skinned chicken, boned
1/2 cup vinegar
The leaves of an 8-inch (20 cm) sprig of rosemary
9 or 10 pitted black olives, minced
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
The juice of a lemon, or 1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 pound (300 g) sliced ham
1 pound (450 g) ground beef
1/4 pound (100 g) Mortadella di bologna
1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts
Pat the chicken dry, flatten it out, and season it with salt, pepper, and the rosemary leaves. Lay the ham over the meat, sprinkle it with the olives, place the carrot along one edge, and roll the meat up around the carrot. Tie it with butcher’s twine, season it with salt and pepper, and brown it on all sides in the olive oil.
Add enough boiling water to come half way up the meat and simmer, uncovered, turning occasionally. When the water has evaporated almost entirely turn it this way and that to brown it on all sides. Then sprinkle it with the lemon juice or wine and transfer it to a serving dish.
Whisk the drippings left in the bottom of the pan, slice the meat, and pour the drippings over the slices. Serve with a zesty red wine, for example a Bardolino or a Chianti d’annata, or a fruity white wine, for example a Vernaccia di San Gimignano or a Fiano.
2 pounds (800 g) plump, fleshy asparagus spears
1 1 /5 cups (300 ml) whole milk
3 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
Salt to taste
A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Butter and breadcrumbs to line the pan
Wash the asparagus spears and trim away the fibrous white extremities, then boil them in lightly salted water, in an asparagus pot if you have one, for about 10 minutes, or until they soften but retain a certain amount of crispness. Remove them to a plate, and, as soon as they’re cool enough to handle cut them into inch-long lengths, setting the tips aside.
Preheat your oven to 380 F (190 C).
Liberally butter a 10-11 inch (25-26 cm) pan and coat the insides with the breadcrumbs.
Beat the milk, eggs, nutmeg, and grated cheese in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the pan and add the asparagus stalks (they’ll float). Bake the sformato for about 10 minutes, then add the tips, sprinkling them over the top, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until it has firmed up throughout.
Let cool and serve sliced, with a fairly rich white wine.
2 1/4 pounds (1 k) carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
An onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 bay leaves
A sprig of thyme
2-3 tablespoons Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup (250 ml) water or dry white wine
Sauté the onion in the olive oil over a gentle flame, letting it wilt but taking care lest it brown and burn. Add the carrots and most of the liquid, reserving some should the carrots look as if they are drying out, the herbs, and simmer for a half hour covered, checking the seasoning shortly before the time is up.