People hear the word liver, or pate´, or offal– And one of two things happen. #1 : they grimace, shun in fear, as if liver were a deathly plague that could quickly infect their respiratory system, rendering them defenseless… or #2 : their eyes roll back slightly, their head drops to the side, they grin and exude any variety of ooooooo yummmmmmy noises, obviously understanding the many sexy, and luxurious qualities of the product. I, obviously, belong in the latter group. Liver is something that I had little interaction with as a child. My mom, apparently not much of a fan, except on the rare occasion my dad would coax her into frying him up some liver and onions, undeniably against her will. Now, in my adult life, where I luckily get to choose my own fate for my diet, I am looooooving any variety of livers– It was actually (And I’m so ashamed to admit this [gulp]…but… I just had foie gras for the first time within the last year. I know!!! I can’t believe I’d been missing out all this time! What an idiot! I thought it was too expensive, or too fatty, or blah blah blah… Lame ass excuses. Its chef gold, and frankly delicious in the most gluttonous way. Its depressing that in such a short time, it will be BANNED in California. Thanks Arnold. What a crock. People have no idea, that most (if not ALL of the foie prepared in restaurants comes from sustainable, and duck/goose-friendly farms. People just loooove to throw their hands up in the air about anything that will get them noticed. Who cares if they know what the hell they’re talking about, right?! I mean, we’re in LA, no one reeeeaaally listens to anyone anyway, So eff it. Sheesh!!! Okay, rant over, sorry folks. If you want more info on all this, I suggest you check out artisan farmers or read this article from EaterLA. Judge for yourself…
Okay, so back to my lovely chicken liver recipes we’re discussing today– I have somewhat recently become infatuated with pate´, and as such have begun playing with different recipes and techniques for preparing it. Now, as a non-classically french trained person (which..ahem…isn’t such a bad thing), I only have knowledge based on my readings and trial and error. I wanted to try and create a single chicken liver mousse, and use in in several applications, to play around with how it pairs with various other, perhaps unorthodox (again, according to pierre frenchy frencherson) ingredients. The pate´ itself I prepared with organic chicken livers, shallot, a bit of garlic, thyme, Madeira, white wine, kosher salt, olive oil, butter– Once finished, I pureed it, and passed it through a chinois to get a smoother texture. Chicken liver pate´ is, undeniably on the rich side, luxurious, unctuous, and alluring. As such, it benefits greatly (in fact begs for) crunch, and a tangy or sour element. I love it simply on toasted buttered bread with pickled anything. Today I also wanted to try it in other applications.
My finished products were:
In a salad– Shaved celery | avocado | chives | olive oil | fried baguette |
A reinterpretation of my favorite– Butter basted bread crouton | apple & berry mostarda | lemongrass and peppercorn pickled shallots | tendrils
A new kind of stuffed pepper– Piquillo peppers | pistachio & lemon | mint | jalapeno
Overall, they were all delicious. Very different. The jalapeno and mint with pistachio may have been the biggest surprise, in a great way. I intend on following up with this flavor pairing, more testing to refine the presentation I think. Don’t be scared of liver. And don’t be scared to make pate´ at home. Truly, its not a difficult procedure– not to mention its outrageously cheaper than buying questionable prepackaged canned or jarred pate´ for your next party… Make it yourself, you won’t be sorry. If you have a skillet, a food pro and a knife, you’re good to go. Seriously.