Chicken Liver Crostini

From Jennifer McLagan, author of three best-selling cookbooks: Bones, Fat and Odd Bits.

2012 Sept/Oct

Chicken liver, with its mild flavour, is a good way to introduce people to this odd bit. Crostini are a popular snack with drinks in Italy, and also make a good starter served with a salad. The liver mixture can be made ahead but bring it to room temperature before proceeding. You can also pack this mixture into a dish and serve as a spread with crackers.


  • 3 T. duck fat or unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 7 oz. chicken livers, trimmed
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T. small capers, rinsed and dried
  • 2 T. dry vermouth
  • 1 t. red wine vinegar
  • 20 slices baguette
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove


In a frying pan over medium-low heat, melt the fat. Add the shallot and rosemary and cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the shallot is softened but not coloured. Meanwhile, pat the livers dry and season them with salt and pepper. Add them to the pan and cook, stirring, until the livers are just pink in the centre, about 3 minutes per side. Cut a liver in half to check. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers and shallot mixture to a food processor, discarding the rosemary sprigs. Add the capers.

Pour the vermouth into the pan and return it to the heat. Bring the vermouth to a boil and, using a wooden spoon, stir to deglaze the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Boil the vermouth until reduced by half. Add 1/2 t. salt and the vinegar, stir, and pour over the livers. Pulse the food processor to chop the liver mixture into a coarse paste, check the seasoning, and transfer to a bowl.

Preheat the broiler to high. Brush the baguette slices with a little olive oil and toast them. Cut the garlic in half and rub the toasted bread on one side with the garlic, then top with a spoonful of liver mixture and serve. Makes about 1 c., enough for 20 crostini