When I got hold of April Bloomfield’s new book “A Girl and Her Pig,” I zeroed right in on the Brit chef’s recipe for chopped chicken liver on toast. Just looking at the picture, I could tell this would be a definitive recipe. And it is. I expected no less from the chef and co-owner of the New York City gastropub Spotted Pig.
I made the recipe, which calls for 1/2 pound of chicken livers, which is just enough to spread on four toasts yesterday. And I have to confess, as soon as I was done snapping the photo, I gobbled up two of them with a glass of white Rioja. The flavors are so pure, with just a backbeat of sweetness from the port and a bit of nuttiness from the Madeira. I can see these toasts with a glass of Madeira, too. A great way to stave off hunger if dinner is a ways off.
I’ll let Bloomfield explain the recipe: “A staple at the Spotted Pig, this creamy, still slightly chunky mash of lovely, iron-y livers on toast makes a fine snack, but it’s substantial enough to hold you over while you wait for a friend or a table. Just the thing too, with a glass of wine. The liver mixture is a touch sweet from the Port and the browned garlic and shallots, with a whisper of acidity from the Madeira. Best of all, it takes just a moment to make. Be sure you get a nice color on the livers when you cook them. (I like them slightly pink on the inside for this dish). Be sure to take in the aroma as they cook -- toasty browning liver is one of my favorite smells.”
“I’m not much for pomp on the plate, for presentation that says, 'Look how pretty!' ... I like food to look as if the arrangement were almost accidental, as if it all dropped from above and happened to pile elegantly on the plate.”
That said, it’s hard to make chopped chicken liver look like a beauty queen. It is what it is -- earthy and primal. And Bloomfield’s version is one of the best I’ve tried, right up there with AOC’s Tuscan-style chicken liver crostini. You might want to try both side by side to see which your guests like best.