DaVinci Wine Cookbook: page 4 [of 10] ANTIPASTI
To fully embrace the Montalbano region (of Chianti): buy some DaVinci Chianti (Trader Joe's carries it---and many others), then make some of these recipes. And don’t worry if you aren’t used to zucchini flowers, haven’t cooked with rabbit and can’t find wild boar: I’ve got you covered. You can substitute beef for boar, zucchini flowers are easier than you think, and to Italians: eating rabbit is as normal as eating chicken or pork. Are you in?
Antipasti. Chicken Liver Crostini.
Zuppa & Insalata. Ribollita (Bread Soup). Panzanella (Bread Salad).
Primi. Zucchini Flower Risotto. Gnudi. Chianti Meat Ragu w/Papparadelle.
Secondi. Wild Boar Stew. Rabbit with olives. Mussels in wine & garlic.
Contorni. Cannellini. Sauteed Spinach.
Dolci. Chef Anna’s Jam Tart. Tiramisu.
Antipasti. We routinely started a meal or rounded out our lunch with a plate of thinly sliced prosciutto, salami and pecorino cheese. Pecorino cheese could be young and soft or aged, hard and sharp. The salamis and prosciutto are from pigs, wild boar or la Cinta Senese (roughly a pig/boar mix) from Tuscany.
The second most common appetizer was a plate of crostini. I tasted 4-6 different versions of chicken liver pate smeared across toasted, garlic-rubbed baguette rounds (my favorite was at ADRIANO---a restaurant in Cerreto Guidi). When we weren’t eating chicken liver, our crostini was piled high with diced tomatoes, chiffonade of basil and a liberal sprinkling of salt.
Whether blessing your guests with chicken liver or garden fresh tomatoes, you need to know how to make crostini the way the Italians do: slice day-old baguette into ¾ inch slices. Heat broiler. Place slices on sheet pan, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil for 1-3 minutes until lightly browned around edges. While still hot, rub face of each crostini with raw garlic clove (one clove for every few crostini).
Chicken Liver Crostini (one way)
3 T olive oil (preferably: 2 T olive oil and 1 T bacon fat) ¼ cup minced shallot 1-2 tsp fresh thyme KS&CP TT (Kosher Salt & Coarse Pepper, To Taste) 1 cup fresh chicken livers, chopped 1/4 cup brandy (or Vin Santo) 1 salt-cured anchovy fillet, finely chopped 1 tsp brine cured capers, rinsed, drained and finely chopped
Rinse livers, trim off connecter tissue and pat dry. Roughly chop livers. Heat fat over medium low heat and sauté shallots, thyme with a few good grinds of salt and pepper. After a few minutes, up heat to medium and add livers. Sautee for 2-3 minutes, then add brandy. Lower heat and barely simmer for 20 minutes. If pan dries, add a little water. Remove from heat. Finely chop livers. Add back to pan with chopped capers, anchovies, a little water and salt, pepper. Simmer a few minutes, or until mixture becomes a thick, moist spread.
Note: I fabricate whole chickens at home, using the pieces for entrees, the bones for stock and the livers for chicken liver pate. I collect chicken livers in my freezer until I have enough for a round of pate.
Chicken Liver Crostini (another way)
3 T olive oil or bacon fat ¼ cup minced shallot 1-2 tsp fresh thyme KS&CP TT (Kosher Salt & Coarse Pepper, To Taste) 1 cup fresh chicken livers, chopped ¼ cup brandy (or Vin Santo) 5 T unsalted butter, room temp.
Rinse livers, trim off connecter tissue and pat dry. Roughly chop livers. Heat fat over medium low heat and sauté shallots, thyme with a few good grinds of salt and pepper. After a few minutes, up heat to medium and add livers. Sautee for 2-3 minutes, then add brandy. Lower heat and barely simmer for 20 minutes. If pan dries, add a little water. Remove from heat. Combine liver mixture and butter in food processor and puree---it take less than a minute. Spread on toasted crostini.
Wine Pairing: A plate of crostini pairs seamlessly with DaVinci Wine’s Pinot Grigio.
*this cookbook was produced for DaVinci Wines; they kindly sponsored a trip to Vinci, Italy for 4 Storytellers---I was the 'Culinary Storyteller.' While I was not paid to go on the trip (well in experience "dollars" YES!), DaVinci Wines paid for the trip. Yet as is always the case: all opinions, recipes and insights are my own.