Chicken-Liver Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing and Croutons

Food & Wine
Sprinkling allspice over chicken livers before sautéing adds a delicate spicy sweetness. With their smooth, rich texture, the livers are a pleasant contrast to the crisp bed of lettuce and crunchy croutons. Frisée stands up perfectly to the hot bacon dressing, but you can use another firm lettuce, such as curly endive, or a mixture of endive and radicchio, instead.


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1 1/2- pounds loaf country-style bread, crust removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
About 7 tablespoons olive oil
2 large heads frisée, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 quarts)
1 red onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 pound bacon, strips cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound chicken livers, each cut in half
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3 1/2 tablespoons wine vinegar


1. Heat the oven to 350°. Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and put on a large baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until the bread cubes are crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let the croutons cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the frisée, onion,1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. In a large nonstick frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and pour the fat into a measuring cup. Add enough of the oil to make 1/2 cup and reserve for Step 5.

4. Wipe out the pan. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan over moderately high heat. Season the chicken livers with the allspice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Put the livers in the pan, in two batches if necessary, and cook 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned, about 2 minutes longer. The livers should still be pink inside. Remove the livers from the pan and put in a warm spot.

5. Wipe out the pan. Add the reserved 1/2 cup fat and the bacon to the pan. Heat over moderately high heat until the bacon is sizzling. Pour the hot bacon and fat over the salad and toss. Toss in the vinegar and then the croutons. Put the salad on plates and top with the livers.

Wine Recommendation: Dishes that straddle the line between salad and meat need particularly flexible wines. Light-bodied reds that are low in tannin, to avoid a clash with the vinegar, can work well; try a Bardolino. Just about any dry rosé wine would also be good.

Created date

June 2004