Tuscan Salad: Insalata di Fegatini di Pollo
Here’s a simple Tuscan salad recipe that’s cheap, quick and easy. I first tried it in a restaurant in San Gimignano while attending their Anteprima, where the new Vernaccia wines are previewed and judged. However, it’s also available in many UK Italian restaurants. While the English translation is Warm Chicken Liver Salad, that simply sounds revolting. So much more appetising and romantic to use its Italian name, Insalata di Fegatini di Pollo.
Ingredients for four
Chicory (endive) – one head
Radicchio – 80g
Rocket – 80g
Baby Spinach – 60g
Butter – 60g
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
Chicken Livers – 400g
75 ml of Vin Santo
All measurements are approximate, and it doesn’t matter too much because this is a rustic dish. The Vin Santo adds a touch of sweetness and nuttiness to the savoury livers and you can experiment with the flavours of various extra-virgin olive oils – Tuscan oil is, of course, the most authentic. If you have a bottle of Sherry or Madeira, then you can use that as a substitute for the Vin Santo too, or use balsamic vinegar.
Cut the Chicory into long thin strips and then mix it in with the Radicchio, Rocket and Baby Spinach leaves in a salad bowl. Add salt only if you must but do season with lots of freshly ground black pepper. That’s the salad sorted.
Slice the chicken livers into thin strips. Now slowly melt the butter in a pan and add half of the olive oil to it. Turn up the heat and sauté the Chicken Livers quickly in the hot butter/oil combo until cooked; a couple of minutes is all. Turn down the heat and add the other half of the olive oil and the Vin Santo. Now gently reduce the liquid a little for a couple of minutes.
Now add the livers to the salad in the bowl, mixing up well. Spoon over some of the liquid as a warm dressing. Enjoy immediately with good crusty bread, ideally Ciabatta, and a bottle of white wine. The natural wine partner for this salad is Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The wine’s crispness and salinity mean it’s perfect.
If you used Vin Santo, try a glass afterwards with Tuscan Cantucci biscuits for dessert. These crunchy biscuits contain honey and almonds, so dip them in the Vin Santo, as is traditional.
Like this Italian recipe? Try this one.