Chicken Liver Toast with Spiced Pecans

  • Serves

    serves 4


At the bar Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky, chicken livers are flambéed with bourbon and smeared on grilled bread with a smoky-sweet pecan garnish. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Happy Hour: Bar Snacks.


For the Pecans

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. flaked salt, such as Maldon

For the Chicken Livers

  • 1 lb. chicken livers, cleaned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Country bread, sliced and grilled, for serving
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. roughly chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, preferably aged


Step 1

Make the pecans: Heat oven to 375°. Toss pecans, butter, paprika, sugar, cayenne, and pepper on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake until nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, 7–8 minutes; let cool. Roughly chop and toss with salt; set aside.

Step 2

Make the chicken livers: Pat livers dry using paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12” cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange chicken livers in an even layer and sprinkle with garlic and onion; cook without stirring until browned, 1–2 minutes. Using tongs, flip livers and reduce heat to medium. Add bourbon and carefully ignite; cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in butter, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until livers are slightly pink in the center, about 1 minute more. Let cool slightly. Discard herbs and transfer liver mixture to a food processor; add salt and pepper and pulse until roughly chopped. To serve, spread liver mixture on grilled bread; garnish with reserved pecans, the parsley, mint, and lemon zest. Drizzle with more oil and the balsamic; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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