Lesson 63: Chicken Livers!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love Italian cuisine??? I don't want this week to end! I've eaten more this week at school than any other week and have truly enjoyed everything!

Today's recipes were from the Central Region of Italy. I immediately got to work preparing a batch of pasta dough for our group. Once that was out of the way, I made a very interesting first-course. Honestly, the two recipes I worked on today were the ones I liked the least when reviewing the recipes before class. But, I went into class today feeling very laid back and ready to attack whatever is thrown at me. I didn't request to work on any specific recipes, so I got the last two that the other group members didn't want to work on: chicken liver crostini and artichokes with peas and prosciutto (artichokes are really good, but a pain to trim!) I saw this is a fun an unique challenge. I was going to make chicken livers and make it delicious!

Not only did this crostini have livers in it, but I hated just about every other ingredient that went in it, including anchovies and capers...ugh. I began by sauteing some chopped onions. I added the livers to the pan and got a nice sear on them. Next, I added some white wine and let it reduce out. I then added tomato paste, chicken stock, finely chopped anchovies and capers, and fresh thyme. I let the mixture simmer for a while and pureed it into a smooth, pasty sauce.

The brown mixture didn't look too appealing, but I grabbed a spoon and winced while I tried a bite. It was not bad! I spread some on crostini and added sauteed mushrooms to some of them:

The mushrooms really balanced out the "liver" flavor of the crostini and I actually loved it! Don't get me wrong, I would not go grab a bowl of chicken liver puree and slurp it down, but I did enjoy 2 of these little crostini! I can now add chicken livers to the list of foods I have tried since entering culinary school!

I was able to serve my crostini right away as an antipasto. After cleaning up a bit, I got right to work on my next dish: Carciofi coi Piselli. Like I said, artichokes are a pain in the butt to trim. I'm happy I got some practice on them though just in case I have to prepare them for my final exam! After you trim artichokes it is key to get them right into some acid water so that they don't turn brown! I prepared the artichokes by sauteing them in olive oil with some onions, prosciutto, peas and chicken stock. This was a very nice side-dish!

Other dishes of the day included Triglie All'Anconetana: Red mullet marinated in lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary, then coated in breadcrumbs and wrapped with prosciutto before baked:

Tagliatelle con Ragu Bolognese: This ragu was insanely good! I also love thick cut fresh pasta. We hand cut this pasta by rolling up the sheets of pasta dough and cutting about 1/2 inch strips.

Ribollita: A hearty bean and vegetable soup served with garlic tuscan bread. YUM (A perfect rainy day dish)

Arista di Maiale con Rosemarino: A loin of pork rubbed with rosemary and garlic and roasted in the oven with white wine.

Yet another delicious day. I felt uncomfortably full on my train ride home and had really bad aches in my back.. I have to work on my posture.. or get a massage.

Ummmm more SNOW in the forecast?!?!?!?! You have GOT to be kidding me!


Oriana said...

hi, the authentic crostini recipe is here...if you cut by hand and not in the processor, the texture is perfect! http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/tuscanycious/crostini-the-tuscan-starter/

La Bella Cucina said...

Thanks! That's a great tip! I was wondering how it would taste without pureeing it.. I'll have to give it a try!

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