September 20th, 2009


Pan-fried Chicken Livers and Cobnuts on Toast

This is what I call a typical wholesome autumn breakfast/brunch dish. Perfect on Sunday morning after nipping out to buy the paper, hopping over the frosty front lawn and in need of a bit of a boost to start the day.

Chicken livers are something I do not mind using in my cooking, for example making a pate or whisking into a delectable ragu to give it that creamy edge. However its not the kind of ingredient that I would have choosen to cook and eat until now….Wow something must have come over me!

Last week I received a bag of cobnuts and unusual English apples from a friend. I trotted off to our local “posh”supermarket with a kind of an idea of what I would like to cook. I knew I wanted to make a warm salad type dish using the cobnuts and apples and originally had pigeon in mind. As I stood in front of the meat counter in the supermarket completely indecisive on what to get; as you can imagine in a small town with a basic butcher and a “posh” supermarket and the rest well!! so I had no hope in finding a pigeon, unless I went to the woods and shot one. Now that is not going to happen as first of all I do not own a shotgun and secondly I am rubbish at clay pigeon shooting. I was totally at a loss until I spotted the chicken livers and I remembered the dish we used to make in one of the restaurants where I had worked previously. It used to be a weekend Saturday and Sunday brunch dish.

The memories started flooding back and all I really remember about the pan fried chicken livers was the incredibly delicious smell of the chicken livers frying in butter, to be served on a slice of crispy toast to soak up the melted butter and the liver juices. As a commis chef  it smelt unbelievably delicious, so much so that the smell was imprinted on my brain; BUT I was never brave enough to eat it. I did manage on the off chance to wipe my finger over the pan before putting  the pan in the pot wash and it was yummy!

After all these years I’m brave enough and the desire to cook pan fried chicken livers in butter with sherry vinegar. I added the apples as I like the flavour of the sweet and savoury notes that the apple in the butter adds to this dish, the sharpness and acidity from the apple and sherry vinegar cuts through the rich chicken livers. The addition of the watercress and the cobnuts adds texture and a nutty pepperyness that balances this dish perfectly and of course the toast is there to soak up the pan juices.

As I said the perfect breakfast for a lazy Sunday morning!

After I have devoured the whole dish and in my true fashion I wiped the plate licking my fingers. I thought that this could make a truly spectacular canape by turning the watercress and sherry vinegar into an espuma, saute the livers and make a sharp apple and shallot puree to cover the slices of crispy toast….finishing the canape with thin slithers of cobnuts. Does it sound nice? I think it would be a true delight! I’m not entirely sure how I could even think about food and creating dishes after I have just eaten such a rich dish.

…..I never seem to stop amazing myself!


  • 400g chicken livers, trimmed, sinew removed and cut in 1/4's
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 100g diced pancetta
  • 1 speckled beauty apple, cored and cut in 8's
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1tbs sherry vinegar
  • 1tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cobnuts, husks and shells removed
  • 4 slices of ciabatta or sour dough bread
  • 1 clove of peeled garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • Watercress

Heat a griddle pan, rub the slices of bread with the oil and toast on both sides on the preheated griddle pan. Whilst the toast is still warm dip the garlic into the salt and rub the salty garlic over the toast on both sides. Place the toast on four plates and place them in a cool oven to heat the plates and keep the toast warm.

Prepare the livers and apple, season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan and saute the pancetta in the dry pan for 3 -4 minutes, add the butter and once the butter starts to foam and turns a nutty brown colour add the apples and livers and saute for 2 minutes in both sides, leaving the livers still slightly pink on the inside and the apple with a bite.

De-glaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and add a splash of olive oil if it's slightly dry, stir in the chopped fresh thyme.

Divide the livers, apples and pancetta between the four sliced of toast and garnish with the watercress, use a coarse grater to grate the cobnuts over and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tips

Use duck livers instead of chicken livers and serve with half a soft boiled duck egg for the complete breakfast.

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4 Comments to “Pan-fried Chicken Livers and Cobnuts on Toast”

  1. Nathan says:

    Nice dish, good to see the use of cobnuts. It`s a shame they are not used more often by people.

  2. James says:

    What a combo! Definitely be making this. I found some cobnuts yesterday in the garden of ths house we were at. Was about to use them when I remembered it was a no nuts party. And I saved the chicken livers from the whole Madgetts Farm chickens. Will go well with the rest of the bacon I cured……

  3. Barry says:

    You are truly a star… gonna use it. as an amuse bouche..never my strong point… love the presentation

  4. Thermomixer says:

    Hey, that’s my kind of breakfast ! Great work. I love lambs’ fry with apple sauce and chicken livers with dukkah, so will have to try this combo. The cripsy pancetta really appeals and the sherry vinegar to deglaze – it’s the whole package.

    Well done again.

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