Chicken Liver, Asparagus, Golden Raisins and Toast

Ingredients

  • 10 chicken livers, rinsed
  • grapeseed oil, for frying
  • 7 medium French shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) brandy
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) mirin (rice wine)
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) rice vinegar
  • 400 g (14 oz) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • freshly ground white peppercorns
  • 6 asparagus spears
  • celery hearts, microcelery, and wild greens in season, to serve

Toast Tuiles

  • 550 g (1 lb 4 oz/ cups) strong flour
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 20 g (¾ oz) baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk powder
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) thick (double) cream
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

Pickled Golden Raisins

  • 50 g ( oz/¼ cup) sugar
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) white verjus
  • 200 g (7 oz) golden raisins (sultanas)

Method

Line a freezer-proof mould with plastic wrap. Blot the chicken livers dry with paper towel. Put a frying pan over high heat and add the grapeseed oil. Once extremely hot (the oil is smoking) sear the livers quickly on all sides for a hard golden crust, being careful not to cook the livers past rare. Remove from the frying pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to low and gently sweat the shallots in the same pan, until meltingly soft, being careful not to colour them. Add the brandy, mirin, and rice vinegar to the pan and reduce until nearly dry. Put the shallot mixture and seared livers with salt and white pepper in a blender and blend on high until the mixture is fairly smooth. Be careful the mixture doesn’t overheat, as this will cause it to become grainy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly incorporate the butter, cube by cube. Season, then pour the mixture into the mould and freeze for 4–6 hours or until solid.

To make the toast tuiles, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5). Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Put the sugar, milk powder, cream, milk and egg in a saucepan and whisk lightly to combine. Place over low heat and warm to 37.5°C (99.5°F) or just above body temperature. Remove from the heat, add the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface and the mixture appears frothy. Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and combine into a rough dough. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth in appearance. Put into a large bowl with a damp tea towel (dish towel) over the dough and store in a warm place (the first proving: the dough will double in size). After proving, punch down the dough and roll into a loaf, placing in a loaf (bar) tin, then let it prove once more for about 30 minutes (until it has doubled in size again). Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin before unmoulding. Once cooled, slice very thinly and toast the slices under a grill (broiler) until golden and crisp.

To make the pickled golden raisins, bring the sugar, verjus and a pinch of salt to the boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the pickling liquid over the raisins and let them sit uncovered in the refrigerator until chilled.

Blanch the asparagus in boiling water and refresh in iced water. Shave 3 asparagus spears into ribbons. Finely chop the remaining asparagus and combine in a bowl. Dress the asparagus with the raisin pickling liquid and gently fold the pickled raisins into the asparagus. Arrange on a plate with the slices of toast. Using a mandolin, shave the frozen liver mousse onto the plate to temper and look like a pile of rags, then garnish with celery hearts, microcelery, and wild greens (such as wood sorrel, alexanders, angelica, nasturtium leaf) before serving.

‘Terroir is about all of the ingredients needing to come together and be eaten together to create a distinctive taste: the dish then being a commitment by everyone involved – the producer, the chef and the diner – if something falls down in this process, the dish is lost and no longer makes sense.’

STEPHANE JEGO