Chicken Liver & Mushrooms on Toast for Easy Elegance
Chicken livers on toast used to be one of our favorite meals when Dad was away and sometimes on a Sunday when he was home.
Sunday was the day when the newspapers were divvied up between us at the table and passed around - "I'll swap you entertainment for sports and what-not". I miss these rituals - the scent of Sunday morning papers. I'm sentimental that way - I love the smell of books and old paper. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I'll be the last of my species to trade in a real book for a Kindle.
Mum was the first to introduce me to this very British meal. And what a good one it is. Chicken livers are not just for the occasional pâtés and stuffing, they are marvelous pan-fried.
I've taken my childhood recipe as I remember it and tweaked it with some rather grown-up and if I may say so, sophisticated touches. For example, using sherry vinegar instead of sherry and lemon juice and thick slices of a lovely rustic farmhouse bread instead of simple toast as we'd have it back then. The Worcestershire sauce remains as-is and so does the healthy dose of ground black pepper.
The mushrooms are so very good with it and soak up all the pan juices making them uber-delicious.
If there is one thing this meal proves is that you don't need fancy ingredients to make an excellent meal - just good ingredients, a little bit of time, and a glass of wine.
After all, everything tastes better with wine and a warm memory!
Chicken Liver & Mushrooms on Toast
1-1/2 lb chicken liver
1/2 lb baby Portabella mushrooms to yield 2 cups sliced
1 small yellow onion or 2 shallots
1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black ground pepper
8 slices, 1/2 inch thick nice rustic bread like sourdough
a jar of mayo
1 tsp olive oil
Chicken livers: Halve the livers, cutting away any fatty membranes and sinew, then pat the livers dry on kitchen paper towels.
Onion or shallots: Peel, discard ends, and finely chop.
Mushrooms: Wipe with a damp cloth, cut away stems and thinly slice.
Sauce: In a bowl, add the sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt, ground black pepper, sugar & cayenne pepper. Whisk to combine.
Bread: With a butter knife, spread a thin layer of mayo on both sides and set aside.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan, preferably cast-iron on medium-high heat for a few seconds. Add 1 tbs olive oil & heat for a few seconds till ripples appear.
Add the mushrooms and saute for about 3-5 minutes till mushrooms are soft & glistening with golden brown edges. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
To the same pan, add the olive oil and butter. As soon as the butter melts, add the shallots or onions and saute for about 5 minutes till the onions have softened but ot browned.
Add the chicken livers. And saute for about 5-7 minutes till the livers are no longer pink but the juices are still running.
Sprinkle the all-purpose flour into the pan and continue to saute coating the livers. Turn the heat to medium-high and fry the livers for about 4-5 mins until brown and crisp on the outside and cooked, but still a little pink in the middle.
Add the sauce and mushrooms and saute till nearly all the liquid in the pan has evaporated and a thick sauce coats the livers. Do not dry out completely.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat.
In a non-stick pan or griddle, heat the oil on medium-high heat and place the bread slices in a single layer. Toast for a few minutes on both sides till the bread is toasted to a golden brown on the edges.
Finely chop parsley. Chop just before using to prevent the parsley from turning brown.
Plate 2 slices of bread per plate.
Re-heat the livers for a few seconds if needed and pile onto the toasted bread.
Sprinkle each pile with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Best eaten as soon as plated as it does not keep well, turning the bread mushy.