Last night I had the pleasure of presenting these dishes, back by popular demand it would seem, on behalf of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy with the MLCC. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on a variety of plants found in the Tuscan regional cuisine and MLCC Product Ambassador, Sheila Nash, provided excellent pairings for each course.
Reception beverage: Americano Cocktail (Campari, Red Vermouth and Soda)
1. Crostini Toscani
Paired with 61 Franciacora (10649) $27.24
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, roughly chopped
1 lb chicken livers, membranes removed
1 tsp small capers, drained but not rinsed
4 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 loaf ciabatta, cut into 8 - 10 slices, lightly toasted
1 tbs minced flat-leaf parsley
Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan wide enough to hold the livers in a single layer over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly coloured, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken livers and brown them on all sides, cooking until medium-rare, about 5 minutes. Add the capers and anchovies. Cook, stirring to prevent scorching, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced but not dry, 2 - 3 minutes.
Pour the contents of the skillet into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Reserve the juice to add some of it to the livers if they are to dry.
Turn the contents out onto a cutting board and chop roughly until they are well incorporated and the mixture is spreadable. If it appears too dry, spoon some reserved cooking liquid over it and chop again. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
Spread some chopped liver on each slice of toast. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over each one. Serve at room temperature.
2. Fave con Pecorino
Pared with Vernaccia DOCG Rocce Delle Macie (867184) $14.09 and Vion Nobile Di Monte Veccia Cantina (7936) $25.53
2 lbs fava beans, peeled
4 ounces Pecorino Toscano, sliced into 1/2 inch/1 cm long matchstick-thick segments
1/4 cup olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 leaves radicchio, sliced very thinly
Place the fava beans and pecorino in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Toss very gently, just to combine the flavours and not to break the beans or crush the cheese.
Mound a quarter of the beans and cheese in the centre of each salad plate. Top each serving with a few slivers of radicchio.
3. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)
Paired with Poggio al Tufo Vermentino Tommasi (730841) $17.14 and Nipozzano Chianti Fescobaldi (107276) $19.87
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
80g grated Parmesan
Wash and dry the sage leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage. Cook very gently over a low flame taking care not to let the butter burn. Pour over cooked pasta and stir through well together with freshly grated parmesan. This super-quick sauce is ideal with 'naked ravioli' (ravioli filling without the pasta) but is also suitable with any short pasta. In this case, drain the cooked pasta keeping back a little of the water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the sage and butter and stir over a low heat for a minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in a good helping of grated Parmesan.
The sauce should look smooth and creamy; if it has dried out too much, add a few drops of milk or fresh cream. Grind a little black pepper over when serving.
4. Zabaione (Zabaglione)
Paired with Vin Santo Badia di Morrona (7997) $21.99
100ml dry Vin Santo (or sherry).
Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they form stiff peak. In another, larger bowl beat the yolks and sugar together until frothy, creamy and pale yellow. Add the egg whites to the yolks and blend thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and even; add the Vin Santo. Serve in dessert goblets with the biscuits.