Perfect match: Tuscan crostini and sangiovese

You'll need

450 gm free-range chicken livers, trimmed 25 gm butter 2 golden shallots, finely chopped 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped 1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped 100 ml red wine 40 ml Marsala 1 baguette, halved horizontally and thickly sliced For brushing: extra-virgin olive oil


  • 01
  • Soak chicken livers in a bowl of cold water (30 minutes), drain well and pat dry with absorbent paper.
  • 02
  • Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add shallot, stir occasionally until tender (3-4 minutes). Add rosemary and anchovy and cook until anchovy breaks down (1-2 minutes). Add livers and turn occasionally until golden but still pink in the centre (2-3 minutes), then remove livers and set aside to cool slightly. Add red wine and Marsala to pan, cook until reduced slightly (1-2 minutes), transfer to a food processor with livers and process until smooth. Season to taste and set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Preheat grill to high heat, drizzle baguette slices with olive oil and grill on an oven tray, turning once, until golden (2-3 minutes). Serve with chicken liver pâté, drizzled with olive oil.

Ah, Tuscany. Until I went and discovered for myself what a gastronomic paradise this place is, I was sceptical: could such a perfect combination of idyllic medieval hill-top towns, sublime red wine and refined-rustic cooking really be possible, or was it just the invention of generations of romantic poets, filmmakers and marketing men? This classically Tuscan dish is exactly what you'll find in one of the country restaurants outside Siena, in the southern part of the Chianti zone - imagine opening a very fine sangiovese from a local vineyard at the beginning of the meal, dispatching a few of these crostini to take the edge off your hunger (you've probably been up since dawn foraging for porcini) and then moving on to some truffle-sauced pasta followed by a juicy Chianina bistecca, all washed down with the medium-bodied yet perfectly savoury red wine. Heaven. Sangiovese works so well with this kind of food because it has - when it's good - just the right balance of fruit (not too heavy, not too light) and drying tannins (assertive but not tongue-thumping). Luckily, Australia produces a few topnotch sangioveses that wouldn't be out of place in such a setting with such a meal.

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

May 2011

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