I Crostini Neri (Chicken Liver Spread for Crostini)

August 8, 2019 Updated: December 12, 2019

These are appetizers that should be made for special occasions and holidays.

When my grandma was a child, these crostini were made during threshing days, when the farmyard was crowded with people. Men would work in the fields, while women would gather in the kitchen to cook a feast for everyone. These were days of celebration, along with Christmas and Easter.

Since I was born, these crostini have always been made for christenings, weddings, birthdays, and Christmas Day. There isn’t a family gathering that goes without crostini neri, and it is very difficult to think about an aperitivo with friends without the reassuring, traditional taste of chicken liver, capers, anchovies, and butter. 

Spread the chicken liver pâté on toasted slices of Tuscan bread or nice sourdough. Just avoid any refined bread.

Before spreading the pâté, you can soak the bread with chicken broth, as my aunt Silvana does; or spread it with butter, as my grandma would do; or, if you prefer, nothing else at all, as my mum always does.

Makes enough for 10 to 12 crostini

  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 12 ounces chicken livers and hearts
  • 2 tablespoons Vin Santo or Marsala
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 10 to 12 slices Tuscan bread or sourdough, toasted, for serving

Roughly chop celery, onion, and carrots.

Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a saucepan, then add the chopped vegetables and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for about ten minutes, then rinse the chicken livers and hearts and add them into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for about another ten minutes, stirring them often.

When the chicken liver is almost cooked through, pour in the Vin Santo and reduce until almost completely absorbed. At the end, add the capers and remove from the heat. 

Using an immersion blender, blend the chicken liver mixture in the saucepan. Do not over blend, though; keep it quite rustic, not too velvety.

Now return the saucepan back over low heat. Add the butter and gradually the anchovy paste, tasting along the way to find your ideal savoriness. Stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.

You can keep the chicken liver pâté in the fridge for a few days. Just reheat before serving, spread on slices of toasted bread.