Today began as a very difficult day… A lot of small problems at work, the usual last-minute emergencies, people who think they are helping when they are in fact creating more problems… After a few hours like this, I figured there was only one thing to do. Well actually two… either jump into a giant jar of Nutella or start cooking. I chose the second option (simply because I had chicken livers in the house and not Nutella…)!
So here it is: my second “Tuscan cuisine for slackers like me” post. Who said we all have hours to prepare traditional recipes?!
Here is my recipe for Tuscany’s most popular antipasto: crostino toscano. Crostini, as many of you certainly know, are toasted slices of bread topped with a sauce. Crostini toscani are topped with a meat sauce made with chicken livers (in the Maremma area at least – in other areas it can be with spleen or just plain ground meat). Traditionally the bread was not toasted. People used stale bread softened with chicken broth.
The first immediate consequence of being the modern woman that I am is that I use freshly baked bread. I slice it and toast it. But let’s proceed in a more orderly fashion…
Ingredients for 2-4 people:
- 150gr of chicken livers
- red wine
- 1 onion
- olive oil
- 150gr of ground beef (if you think the flavour of liver might be too strong)
- chicken stock
This is the “politically correct” list of ingredients. If you are a lazy slacker or a plain bad housewife/cook feel free to substitute real chicken stock with powdered chicken stock, capers with caper paste and anchovies with anchovy paste.
Clean the chicken livers (they come with the heart as well). I use kitchen scissors to cut the meat in small pieces and to eliminate the fat parts. Put the meat in a bowl and cover in red wine. Leave it for at least 15 minutes.
Cut the onion in small pieces and fry it in a pot with abundant olive oil.
When they are a nice yellow colour, take the liver out of the bowl and add it to the onion. Stir and let fry for 5 minutes. If you want to use ground beef too, add it in now and let fry.
Cover the mixture with the red wine used to marinate the meat. If the meat is not covered, add more. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
When the wine has evaporated, add chicken broth or a cup of hot water with powdered chicken stock. Cover the mix with abundant liquid and let cook until it has evaporated.
Put the meat in a blender. Add a few capers, and a couple of anchovies (or a spoonful of caper and anchovy paste). Add a teaspoon of butter (it makes the mix creamier). Blend until the mix is smooth and suitable for spreading on bread.
Toast a few slices of bread and enjoy! Buon appetito!!!
If you like traditional Tuscan recipes which you can make quickly, check my first “Tuscan cuisine for slackers like me” post dedicated to Minestra e Fagioli (bean soup with pasta).