‘Try the grey stuff-it’s delicious! Don’t believe us, ask the dishes!’
I remember that line from Beauty and the Beast as a child. In my mind, I just thought the ‘grey stuff’ was something fancy and French. As an adult, I contemplate how many grey foods there are out there and question whether or not they are, in fact, delicious.
One day, while doing something banal like washing the dishes or hanging the laundry to dry, a sudden realization came over me. Could the grey stuff have been pâté? It must be! After all, I can’t think of anything more ‘fancy’, French, grey AND delicious than pâté.
I’ll admit that when first introduced to pâté, I was a bit skeptical and apprehensive. The look of it can’t be characterized as ‘appetizing’ nor the description of what it is exactly: ‘meat paste’. Pâté is one of those things that you either love or hate but you first need to try in order to decide. Once I did try it of course, I was smitten. It was one of the few things I desperately craved while pregnant but couldn’t have. As soon as I gave birth and was out of the hospital, I indulged in a glass of Rioja and pâté. It was like finally scratching an inch you’ve had for 9 months and it was fantastic.
Speaking of fantastic, I can’t think of anything more grey and delicious than this chicken liver mousse. The rich, dark flavor of the liver combined with fresh rosemary, leeks and Marsala wine is a perfectly heavenly combination. It’s easy to make and difficult to stop eating. I find myself going back for more baguette every time the urge for a snack comes over me. In a way, it might actually be a good thing I run out of bread otherwise I might never stop eating it.
1 lb (454g) chicken livers
1 leek (chopped)
2-3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 sprig of rosemary
4 oz/120ml marsala wine
100ml (~3.5oz) cream
2-4 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
Wash and clean the chicken livers. Remove the sinew and any discolored spots. Soak in milk overnight.
Wash the milk off of the chicken livers and dry as best as you can with a clean and dry cloth.
In a medium-large saucepan, melt 2-3 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped leek, half a sprig of rosemary and saute for a minute or two until soft. Add chicken livers, season generously with salt and pepper, and brown on each side (this should take about 2-3 minutes). Turn heat to high and add marsala wine. Cook on high heat for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat. Let cool.
In a food processor, blend chicken liver and leek mixture with cream until smooth. Spoon mixture into ramekins or jars.
Over medium low heat, melt clarified butter with a sprig of rosemary. Cook until rosemary has infused into the butter (about 5 minutes). You’ll know you’re done when the sprig of rosemary has turned from soft to crispy.
Gently pour the rosemary infused clarified butter over the top of the mousse, let cool and place covered in the refrigerator overnight. You want just enough to cover the top, so try for a thin layer.
Serve with crackers, a crusty baguette, sliced tomatoes and a nice glass of wine. Enjoy!