Experiment – Courgette Flan and Chicken Livers:
This dish is a variation on a theme. The theme was set by Anna Binni at a recent blogging event hosted by Tuscany Now. Some of what we ate was quite familar and I was really interested to discover how to make the chicken liver dish for that reason.
We feasted on chicken livers cooked much as Anna showed us when I visited Tuscany. For the most part they were chopped up a bit more and served on bruschetta or on polenta, which was a great way to soak up the fabulous juices.
And, while I liked the pastry free flan (which I believe is called sformata or sformato in Italy) it’s nearly impossible to find courgette flowers here, unless you grow them yourself. And even if I had some, I’d want to make courgette flower fritters (which would be fabulous to serve with the dish!). So I wanted to add something to give that slightly floral taste I think the flowers are intended to provide. The solution was easy for me. I still have some fennel pollen from Global Harvest and I had been planning to try using a little in a béchamel. This was a perfect opportunity. I think making your own bechamel really helps to get a light consistency. I used semi skimmed milk too and drained the courgettes a bit more carefully than on the evening by using kitchen roll to absorb as much of the fat as possible while still keeping the lovely buttery olive oil taste.
Finally, I generally cook for one or two people. So, instead of making one big flan, I reduced the quantities a bit and made small flans! I’ve discovered they do keep very well and are great for a quick lunch, either at room temperature or just warmed up a little.
Without further delay, here’s what I did
I’d be quite happy to make the chicken liver dish to eat with polenta too. Or, to serve the courgette and fennel pollen flans with a simple tomato sauce or salad. It was VERY good and I am planning to try some variations with the fennel pollen, which worked very well in the bechamel. I suspect Anna would despair as I cut out most of the use of stock cubes and instead used a little vegetable stock powder in the flan which I could adjust easily. I did taste the mix though before cooking and decided it didn’t need any more seasoning. I used red wine instead of white in the chicken liver dish to add some depth and I tasted as I cooked and it seemed quite rich enough with the wine and anchovies. The result was a lighter, more delicate flan and a well flavoured chicken liver dish I hope without losing the essence of the recipe;) Nevertheless this is my entry for the Tuscan Cookery Challenge hosted by Tuscany Now