This is a rich, smooth, spreadable pâté, ideally using fresh, organic chicken livers. Goes great with crunchy toasts! Sealing the surface with a slick of clarified butter (see below), or with jellied stock helps to preserve the pâté’s pink tinge and basically stops it from graying.
Aside from the chicken liver pâté, I also experimented with making potted shrimp since I had a few cooked shrimp left over from making Pancit (rice noodles) just a few days ago.
Chicken Liver Pâté
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter ( I used an organic one)
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh, organic (if possible) chicken livers, cleaned
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sweet sherry (I used sherry cooking wine)
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons clarified butter (see below) or jellied stock
- toasts, to serve
- Heat a sauté pan and add a walnut-size piece of butter.
- Add the chicken livers and tarragon leaves and sauté quickly, turning them, until they are colored on the outside but still pink in the center.
- Transfer to a blender or food processor.
- Melt another walnut-size piece of butter and add the shallots and garlic. Sauté them for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are tender and translucent.
- Pour in the sherry and reduce until only a teaspoon remains. Add the mixture to the processor.
- Add the mascarpone to the livers and season generously with salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth, then let cool until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. With the processor running, add the remaining butter, in 2 to 3 batches, and continue processing until the pâté is very smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and divide the mixture among small dishes (I used 5 oz Le Parfait jars because I simply prefer its impeccable quality) Cover and let chill.
- As soon as the pâté is cold, run a thin layer of clarified butter or jellied stock over the surface. Let chill, then bring to room temperature and serve with toast.
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) of unsalted butter
- 1 cup cooked small shrimp, chopped (If you have a mini processor/chopper, this is ideal to chop any size shrimp)
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat the butter over medium heat until melted and it stops sizzling–do not let it go brown. Skim away the froth. Pour the clear, golden (clarified) butter into a bowl, leaving behind the milky solids in the bottom of the pan.
- Toss the shrimp in 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter and mix in the cayenne pepper and lemon juice. (Check the seasoning to your taste).
- Pack the shrimp in 2 to 3 ramekins (or small jars) and pour over the remaining butter. Let chill until set. Serve with toast. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Original recipe source adapted from A Country Cook’s Kitchen by Alison Walker
Clarified butter (beurre noisette) is also called drawn butter. Simply defined, clarified butter is unsalted butter that has the milk solids and water removed so all that remains is pure liquid golden-yellow butterfat. The advantages of this type of butter is its long keeping quality (several months refrigerated) and its high smoke point (can be used in frying without burning). The disadvantage is that it doesn’t have that same wonderful rich flavor of regular unsalted butter (since the milk solids have been removed) but it does have a more buttery taste than other oils.
To make clarified butter:
- Gently melt unsalted butter over low heat until the butter breaks down and three layers form.
- The top layer is a white foam or froth (the whey proteins) and should be skimmed off with a spoon. The milk solids will drop to the bottom of the saucepan and form a milky layer of sediment. What is left in the middle is a pure golden-yellow liquid called clarified butter.
- When you have skimmed all the white foam from the surface of the clarified butter, and it has stopped bubbling, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Let the butter sit a few minutes to allow the milk solids to further settle to the bottom, and then strain the mixture through a fine sieve or a cheesecloth-lined strainer.
- The liquid collected is the golden-yellow clarified butter (butterfat) that can be covered and stored several months in the refrigerator. Chilled clarified butter does become grainy.
Clarified butter is used in baking genoise, madeleines, and other baked goods where creaming the butter is not necessary and you want that distinctive fragrant nutty flavor. For cooking it is used in making hollandaise sauce and is excellent for sauteing as it has a high smoke point.