Old-school chicken liver parfait
WITH A SAGE AND CLARIFIED BUTTER TOPPING
- 300 g butter , softened
- olive oil
- 2 shallots , peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , peeled and finely chopped
- 400 g higher-welfare chicken livers , trimmed
- a few sprigs fresh sage , leaves picked
- 1 small wineglass brandy
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch ground mace
- 1 loaf French or ciabatta bread
- 1 punnet salad cress
- Preheat the oven to 110ºC/225ºF/gas ¼. Put half the butter in an ovenproof saucepan and pop it in the oven to slowly melt until it’s separated – this will take about 10 minutes. Strain the yellow clarified butter into a separate bowl and set aside to cool. Discard the remaining milky-coloured butter.
- Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Slowly fry the shallots and garlic for 10 minutes, until soft and tender, then remove to a plate. Wipe the pan clean with some kitchen roll, turn up the heat then throw in the livers and most of the sage. Cook the livers for a couple of minutes on each side, until lightly coloured but still a little pink in the middle – if you overcook them they will lose their smooth texture and become grainy.
- Pour in the brandy. If you're using a gas hob you can flame it until the alcohol cooks off, but watch your hair! Simmer for a minute or so, then take the livers off the heat and tip them into a food processor with the cooked shallots and garlic. Blitz until you have a smooth purée. Add the rest of the softened butter and continue to blitz, then season well and add the mace. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
- Sprinkle the remaining sage leaves over the parfait, then spoon over the clarified butter. Leave the parfait to set in the fridge for 1 hour. It will taste beautiful straight away, but it’s even better if the flavours are left to develop for a couple of days. If the butter seal isn’t disturbed it should last as long as two weeks, though it never lasts that long in my house!
- When you are ready to serve, slice up the bread and griddle the little toasts. Pile them onto a board next to your parfait with a pile of snipped cress on the side and dig in.