2. CITRUS: HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE
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4. WEEKLY FOOD AND FLEA MARKETS
5. COMPLETELY CASUAL COMOSPOLITIAN VIBE
6. DRIVE-BY SCULPTURE
8. WINTER WEATHER
9. STREET ART
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Those not lucky enough to be on the scene can find tidbits of L.A.’s restaurant pleasures in cookbooks. Case in point, this recipe for the extremely popular bruschette served at the extremely popular Pizzeria Mozza from the extremely popular “The Mozza Cookbook.”
CHICKEN LIVERS, CAPERS, PARSLEY, AND GUANCIALE
Yield: 2 cups pâté, or enough for 24 crostini
1 pound chicken livers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra- virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons brandy or
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons capers (preferably salt- packed), soaked for 15 minutes if salt-packed, rinsed, and drained
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
12 thin slices guanciale or pancetta (about 6 to 8 ounces)
Use a small knife to remove the connective veins from the chicken livers, discard the veins, and place the chicken livers on a plate lined with paper towels. Pat them with paper towels to get out the excess moisture, and discard the towels. Season the livers very generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat them all over with the seasoning.
Heat 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium- high heat until the oil is almost smoking and slides easily in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. One by one, carefully add the chicken livers to the pan. (By adding them one at a time the pan doesn’t cool down too much, and it also ensures you will have room for all of the livers, as they shrink immediately when they hit the pan. You should be able to fit them all in the pan at the same time.) Cook the livers for about 3 minutes per side, until they’re deep brown. Add the pancetta, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the fat is rendered from the pancetta. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent it from browning. Add the brandy, shake the pan or stir the livers to deglaze the pan, and cook for about 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol. Turn off the heat and turn the contents of the pan out onto a large cutting board, making sure to get all the bits out of the bottom of the pan.
Pile the parsley, shallots, capers, and lemon zest on top of the mound of chicken livers and pancetta and drizzle with the lemon juice and 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil. Run a large knife through the mound five or ten times to roughly chop the livers and all the other ingredients. Drizzle another 1⁄4 cup of olive oil over the mound and continue to chop, gathering the ingredients into a mound from time to time. Add the remaining 1⁄4 cup of olive oil and chop until the livers are the consistency of a coarse paste, almost puréed. Serve the chicken liver spread or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days; bring to room temperature before assembling.
When you are ready to serve, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Place the guanciale slices on a baking sheet and put in the oven until they are cooked through but not crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the guanciale from the oven and transfer to paper towels to drain.
To assemble, lay the crostini oiled side up on a work surface and spoon a heaping tablespoon of the chicken liver spread in an uneven layer on the toast, leaving the edges exposed. Tear 1 piece of guanciale in half and lay both halves at an angle on top of the chicken liver, slightly overlapping in a natural- looking way. Repeat with the remaining crostini, chicken liver, and guanciale, and serve.