Garlic and Chicken Liver Tart with Salads in Walnut Dressing

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Quiches suffer from past over-popularity, also from the penny-pinching of companies mass-producing them for the supermarket trade. Well-made versions with proper eggs, cream and some flavouring other than cheese and ham, are an eye-opener to the delicious possibilities.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 1 medium (large) egg, plus a little beaten egg for brushing
  • 160g ( oz/ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g (9 oz) plain flour (2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk

For the Filling

  • 150g (5 oz/scant ½ cup) chicken livers, trimmed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium (large) eggs
  • 250ml (9fl oz/1 cup) double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon basil leaves
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

For the Salad

  • a selection of salad leaves
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Method

To make the pastry, stir the egg and softened butter together, then rub the mixture into the flour and salt. When almost amalgamated, add the milk and knead two or three times so that everything is well mixed. Rest the pastry for at least 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Roll out the pastry and use it to line a 26 cm (10 in) tart tin – preferably one with a detachable base. Brush the tart case with a little beaten egg, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2)

For the filling, purée the chicken livers, shallot and garlic in a blender or food processor. Add the eggs and cream, mix briefly, then add the brandy, basil, nutmeg and some salt and pepper and blend well. There should be a total of just under 1 litre (1 pint 15fl oz/ cups) of mixture.

Pour the filling into the tart case and bake for about 30 minutes or until firm and set. Unmould the quiche and leave to settle for a few minutes before cutting into wedges.

Combine the salad leaves, avocado and pine nuts in a salad bowl, then dress with the walnut oil and sherry vinegar. Season to taste and serve the salad around the warm tart.

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