Restaurant owners in the Lyonnaise and Bressoise regions faithfully serve a crayfish sauce with this custard. It is a marriage dictated by tradition (and by Lucien Tendret) rather than by harmony. A creamed tomato sauce, a sauce suprême, or a rapid sauce bâtarde will all serve perfectly. A chicken liver custard is an exquisite thing, but it does not take well to garnish and belongs to the realm of first courses. Cold, it is another kind of splendor and needs no sauce.
A custard (liver or not) that is subjected to an excess of heat, be it ever so slight, will break; the body (which, when correctly cooked, is set in a moist and trembling, tender suspension) shrinks within itself, shot with holes bound in a honeycomb of vaguely rubbery structure, its precious liquid cast off in the unmolding. It is difficult, under the circumstances, to give precise oven temperatures; the important thing is that the water of the bain-marie must never approach a boil. Keep an eye on it and, if there is the slightest suggestion of a simmer, turn the thermostat down further, leaving the oven door open for a minute to reduce the heat.
Considering the relatively small proportion of livers (they make up less than one third of the bulk of the mixture), the result has an astonishingly pure-liver effect; the quantity may be reduced for a more custardy effect and a more attenuated liver flavor.
The liver, the marrow, and the crushed garlic may be reduced together to a purée in a blender or with a mortar and pestle. In any case, the resultant purée must be stirred together with all the other ingredients, the lot passed through a fine sieve and whisked until smooth. Pour into a generously buttered
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.