Saturday, February 1

Chopped Chicken Livers on Toast, Bacon & Sage Crumbs

I like to try and have something 'on toast' permanently on the menu at the pub. If you make your own bread (which we do) then it is a great way to use up yesterdays loaf and avoid waste. Soft; rich; buttery chicken livers on charred bread with crispy bacon and astringent mustardy leaves……it's a very rustic and very good toast topper. 

Oh and a little tip here: when you make a vinaigrette, whisk the salt and sugar into the vinegar mix before you add the oil. The salt/sugar grains will not dissolve easily once you add the oil leading to a grainy dressing……no-one ever tells you this on TV……you heard it here first folks. For two:

Organic chicken livers - 250g
Milk for soaking
Good bread - 2 slices about half an inch thick
Some interesting salad leaves - a large handful
Butter - 50g
Dry cure streaky bacon - 4 rashers
Sage - a small handful of leaves, stalks discarded
Red wine vinegar - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Olive or vegetable oil - maybe 100ml
Dijon - 2 tsp

Pick through the livers and pull out any white bits - these are the cores of the livers and can be a little bit stringy. Soak the livers in milk for and hour or two, then rinse and dry on kitchen roll. Roughly chop and set aside. In a roomy pan warm a half the butter and fry the bacon over a medium-low heat until really golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and allow to drain on kitchen roll and cool down. Toss the sage into the same pan and fry until crisp, remove and add to the bacon on the kitchen roll.  Keep the pan on the heat - we will use it again in a minute.  When the bacon is cool, roughly chop with the  sage to make a course crumb. 

Toast your bread. Make a mustardy vinaigrette with the dijon and red wine vinegar, a good pinch of sugar, pepper and salt. Whisk well until the grains have dissolved then beat in veg or mild olive oil a little at a time until the dressing thickens - set aside.

The pan should be quite hot now.  Toss in another knob of butter, crank up the gas and throw in the livers. Season well and add a tiny dash of red wine vinegar, stir fry to your liking - I cook mine to medium.  Dress the leaves, top the toasts with the livers spooning over any pan juices that remain. Sprinkle with the bacon and sage crumbs.

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