Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Easy Yet Awesome Pâté

My primary cookbook adventure this week was supposed to be Coq au Vin, but I felt like I should also make an appetizer. (This turned out to be brilliant, since the Coq au Vin was delayed by flood (I'll finish cooking it tonight and post then...) and I ended up having this appetizer for dinner last night.) I started flipping through Volume 3 of my Canal House Cooking collection, which had arrived last week, and decided this was the perfect chance to try their version of Chicken Liver Pâté. Canal House Cooking sends out small seasonal cookbooks three times per year featuring gorgeous, simple, fresh, seasonal recipes. I subscribed to it on a bit of a whim, and decided that I'd better start using them if I wanted to justify that purchase...
I realize that liver is not everyone's favorite ingredient on the planet, but I love it, and I especially love it in a nice pâté. One awesome feature of this chicken liver pâté is that it can be made with about $2 of ingredients that aren't already in your pantry ($1.50 for chicken livers and 50 cents for scallions...).
(There's an invisible jar of Dijon mustard in the ingredients pictured up there, by the way... You just can't see it... due to the invisibility and whatnot.) The recipe stressed that butter is key, so I went ahead and used my new secret ingredient: Amish butter.
Mmm... Amish butter... The recipe is super-simple. Chop a bundle of scallions,
and add to a skillet with some melted butter to cook until soft.
Weigh out the desired amount of chicken livers,
then add to the skillet with the scallions and sautée until just cooked through but still pink in the center.
Dump this all in a food processor with salt, ground allspice, dijon, more butter, and a splash of cognac, then purée until smooth.
That's it. At this point I tasted for seasoning and realized that this is one of the most kick-ass batches of pâté I've ever made. Since the seasoning was perfect, I went ahead and poured the mixture it into molds, then tossed those into the fridge overnight to give the pâté time to firm up.
As long as I was being French-inspired and decadent, I decided brioche was the most practical bread to use for the toast points on which I would serve my pâté.
After slicing off the crusts and cutting diagonally into triangles, the brioche was thrown under the broiler until toasted, then topped with pâté and chives...
This was heaven. Heaven. My spirit was somewhat broken when I sat down to my appetizer/dinner. There was 6" of water in my basement and the level kept rising thanks to the non-stop rain we've been "enjoying" here in Boston. My friend T came to my rescue (yet again), getting my chest freezer and air conditioners elevated to safer heights, but they weren't going to be safe for long, given the rate at which the water was rising. T got things under control by around 1am, and everything will be OK (thanks in part to the 6 hours my mom and I spent organizing and cleaning down there two weeks ago and in part to the fact that T is a miracle worker)... but I was in need of a pick-me-up at dinner time, and this fit the bill. This will be my go-to pâté from now on. Super-simple and super-affordable to make, and so very very good. I can't wait to have it again tonight as an actual appetizer before my Coq au Vin, and I'm thinking I should definitely check out more of the recipes in my Canal House collection based on the major success of this. Mmm... Pâté... Oh, and if you're just having it for yourself, plating doesn't have to get nearly so fussy...

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