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Recipe: Make this buttery chicken liver pate and serve over toast for an exciting hors d’oeuvre.

Makes 3 cups, or enough to serve 12 or more

This is the recipe for Florentine chef and writer Benedetta Vitali rubbing chicken livers on a crostini and “flavoring” it with a little broth. In his book “Soffritto: Tradition and Innovation in Tuscan Cooking,” Vitali laments that crostini today refers to small toasts stuffed with just about anything imaginable, but in his opinion, a crostini should be made with chicken livers. In Tuscany, tradition once called for the first gravy-based dish at a formal dinner, which explains why he scooped the gravy on his toast. It allows this rich spread to be served on dry toast as an appetizer. A little dot of orange marmalade spread over toast adds a nice sweet contrast to the salty, buttery chicken liver. You can make your own small toasts by baking the baguette slices until golden, but quality melba toast will save you the trouble. This is a sensational party hors d’oeuvre for any holiday gathering.

cup of olive oil
one small red onion, finely chopped
one celery stalk, finely chopped
one carrot, finely chopped
18 ounce (1 pound plus 2 ounces) chicken livers, coarsely chopped
4 anchovies, rinsed and coarsely chopped
5 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoon of cognac or brandy
½ cup chicken stock or water
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
salt, to taste
Melba toast or toasted baguette slices (for serving)
one 1 cup orange marmalade (for serving)

1. Cover a 3-cup bowl with plastic wrap or have two 1 1/2-cup ramekin (without the plastic wrap) on hand.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown.

3. Add the livers, anchovies, capers and cognac or brandy. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the livers are lightly pink, with no traces of blood inside. If the pan becomes dry, add 2 tablespoons of broth or water at a time to prevent the livers from drying out. You may not need to use all the stock. Take the pan off the stove.

4. Puree the hot liver mixture in a food processor until very smooth. Add the butter pieces and pulse until all the butter has melted. Taste the spice and add a pinch of salt if desired. (Anchovies and capers are salty, so start with less instead of more.)

5. Transfer chicken liver mixture to bowl or divide between ramekins. Flatten the top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

6. If serving in small molds, remove the plastic wrap and place the pate in the plates on a serving tray. If using a bowl, remove the plastic wrap cover and invert the bowl onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic. Use a butter knife to smooth the surface of the pate. Serve with toasts and top each with a small drop of marmalade.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Makes 3 cups, or enough to serve 12 or more

This is the recipe for Florentine chef and writer Benedetta Vitali rubbing chicken livers on a crostini and “flavoring” it with a little broth. In his book “Soffritto: Tradition and Innovation in Tuscan Cooking,” Vitali laments that crostini today refers to small toasts stuffed with just about anything imaginable, but in his opinion, a crostini should be made with chicken livers. In Tuscany, tradition once called for the first gravy-based dish at a formal dinner, which explains why he scooped the gravy on his toast. It allows this rich spread to be served on dry toast as an appetizer. A little dot of orange marmalade spread over toast adds a nice sweet contrast to the salty, buttery chicken liver. You can make your own small toasts by baking the baguette slices until golden, but quality melba toast will save you the trouble. This is a sensational party hors d’oeuvre for any holiday gathering.

cup of olive oil
one small red onion, finely chopped
one celery stalk, finely chopped
one carrot, finely chopped
18 ounce (1 pound plus 2 ounces) chicken livers, coarsely chopped
4 anchovies, rinsed and coarsely chopped
5 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoon of cognac or brandy
½ cup chicken stock or water
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
salt, to taste
Melba toast or toasted baguette slices (for serving)
one 1 cup orange marmalade (for serving)

1. Cover a 3-cup bowl with plastic wrap or have two 1 1/2-cup ramekin (without the plastic wrap) on hand.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown.

3. Add the livers, anchovies, capers and cognac or brandy. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the livers are lightly pink, with no traces of blood inside. If the pan becomes dry, add 2 tablespoons of broth or water at a time to prevent the livers from drying out. You may not need to use all the stock. Take the pan off the stove.

4. Puree the hot liver mixture in a food processor until very smooth. Add the butter pieces and pulse until all the butter has melted. Taste the spice and add a pinch of salt if desired. (Anchovies and capers are salty, so start with less instead of more.)

5. Transfer chicken liver mixture to bowl or divide between ramekins. Flatten the top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

6. If serving in small molds, remove the plastic wrap and place the pate in the plates on a serving tray. If using a bowl, remove the plastic wrap cover and invert the bowl onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic. Use a butter knife to smooth the surface of the pate. Serve with toasts and top each with a small drop of marmalade.Sally Pasley Vargas