Fegatini: Tuscan Chicken Liver Spread

Fegatini2_7852

Recipe and photograph by Amber Share.

“Fegatini is the paté of Tuscany. It is served everywhere, especially at aperitivo, and each cook makes it slightly differently.”

 

Serves 8

Prep Time 30 min.

Preheat 400°F

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb. chicken livers

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup Vin Santo

3 tbsp capers, rinsed

3/4 tsp fine sea salt + 2 pinches

black pepper, freshly ground

Extra olive oil and capers for garnish

1 baguette or loaf of Italian bread, sliced and cut into

cracker size pieces

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat a wide frying pan over medium. Add olive oil, swirl around pan then add onion, carrot, celery and a couple pinches of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stir and cook another 2 minutes. Add livers and cook another 5 minutes, turning to brown the outsides.

Dilute tomato paste in the Vin Santo and water. Deglaze the pan with the liquid mixture. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Scrape down pan and transfer to a food processor, add capers and process until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil as needed to keep the mixture loose.

Brush bread with olive oil and toast on a cookie sheet in oven for 6-8 minutes.

Place the fegatini in small bowls, drizzle with olive oil and top with capers. Serve warm or at room temperature with the toasts.

A Taste of Zeppole

ItalianDonuts_0457

Italian Donuts

Plan your next trip to il Bel Paese over a warm basket of these golden puffs.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1 stick butter

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Olive oil for frying

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Mascarpone cream and jam to serve

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place butter, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and water in heavy bottomed pan. Bring to boil over a medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour. Return to the heat and stir for 3-4 minutes until mixture forms a ball. Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well mixed and smooth.

Place 2 inches oil in large, heavy bottomed pan. Heat over medium heat to about 350 degrees.

Carefully drop tablespoons of the dough into the hot oil. Turn the doughnuts once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up. Drain on paper towels. Stir together cinnamon and sugar and toss with hot doughnuts. Serve warm with mascarpone cream and jam for dipping.

To bake instead of fry, place spoonfuls on baking sheet. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden brown.

ItalianDonuts1

A Taste of Florentines

Italy1

An Italian Holiday Treat

Crunchy, chewy Tuscan cookies are great for scooping up ice cream. Who cares if it’s cold outside?

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups sliced almonds

3 tbsp flour

2 tbsp orange zest (about 1 orange)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream

2 tbsp honey

5 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 oz bittersweet chocolate to decorate

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with Silpat or baking parchment.

Place almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir in dried cherries, flour, orange zest and salt. Set aside.

Place sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and almond mixture until just combined.  Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.

When mixture is cool enough to handle, roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on baking sheet about 4 inches apart to allow room to spread.

Bake until flat and golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool  and harden for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Drizzle or sandwich with melted chocolate when completely cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Fiori Fritti: Fried Flowers

ZucchiniBlossoms_0012

Recipe and photograph by Amber Share.

Serves 4

Prep Time 1 1/2 Hours

 

INGREDIENTS:

16-20 zucchini blossoms (male or female)

1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

dash nutmeg

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

black pepper, freshly cracked

3 eggs

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup white wine, dry (Pinot Grigio or Vernaccia)

1/4 cup water, possibly more

olive oil (for frying)

sea salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Trim blossoms by gently removing the interior pistils or stamens, removing the small outer green leaves and trimming the stem or removing the baby zucchini. Rinse and lay on paper towels. Keep in a cool place until ready to use.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Separate the eggs, then add yolks, oil, wine and water to the dry ingredients and whisk well. The consistency should be similar to crêpe batter, add more water as necessary. Place egg whites in a separate bowl. Cover batter and egg whites separately and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and whisk whites to soft peaks and fold into batter. Set aside.

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Bring the oil up to temperature slowly. You want the oil hot enough so that the blossoms sizzle when they hit the oil but not so hot that the oil is smoking. Test by dropping some batter in the oil.

Dip the blossoms in the batter, shake off excess, and fry 1-2 at a time until golden, turning once with tongs or a wooden spoon. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Enjoy immediately.