Tuscan Liver Bruschetta With Caramelized Figs
Bruschetta di Fegato ~ This is a traditional liver pate or spread found across Tuscany. My version uses the sweet Marsala wine in this easy yet delicious recipe, although Vin Santo would be the wine of choice in Tuscany. This is a great antipasti for parties, or simple family entertaining, and can be prepared hours before serving. Every Tuscan restaurant and home chef will have their own variation of this dish, but the basic recipe remains the same. You can experiment with the texture and see if you prefer a smoother consistency or one a little coarser. I do find however, that the smoother consistency spreads much easier.
I like to grill or toast my bruschetta under the broiler to keep them firm enough to hold up to the soft spread, but you could also serve this spread in a bowl with crusty bread slices alongside, and allow your guests to spread it on their own. Variations on this recipe include the addition of pickled vegetables, a variety of different herbs, or even adding a little cream to the spread. I did use Marsala wine in my version, but if not available, you could substitute white wine or brandy. Although these bruschetta are delicious simply topped with the creamy liver spread, I topped my liver bruschetta with figs. I first halved the figs, brushed the cut side with chestnut honey, and then caramelized them under the broiler and I find the sweetness of the figs really compliments the earthy flavors of the liver spread.
by Deborah Mele
4 Large Chicken Livers, Cleaned
1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Finely Chopped
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt And Pepper
1/2 Cup Marsala Wine (If Not Available, Use White Wine Or Brandy)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Capers
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon Anchovy Paste
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Long Baguette To Serve
1 Pint Figs
1/4 Cup Chestnut Honey
Clean the chicken livers by removing the membranes and any connective tissue. Cut into large dice. In a heavy pan over medium heat, add the oil and once it is hot, add the onions. Cook until they are soft and translucent. Next add the garlic and stir. Add the chicken livers and stir to mix. Cook until they lose their pink color. Add the Vin Santo wine, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the liquid reduces and the livers become lightly browned. Add a little chicken broth if needed to accomplish this. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and place the mixture in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely blended. Add the butter, capers and pulse until it becomes a smooth paste. If it seems a bit dry, add a little chicken broth to moisten. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Slice the bagutte into thin slices and toast in the oven or grill until lightly browned on each side. Cut the figs in half, then brush with chestnut honey. Place under the broiler and cook until lightly brown and bubbly. Spread the pate generously on the bread slices, top with a fig half and serve.
Note: You can prepare the spread ahead of time, but I recommend placing plastic wrap directly on top of the spread to prevent it from discoloring. Store for up to 6 hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before using, allow to come to room temperature, and then thin with a little warm chicken broth if needed to create a spreadable mixture.