Chicken livers, when cooked right, have just about the sexiest texture of any food I can think of. I like to balance their rich, mineral notes with endive made sweet by caramelizing over low heat. With the pickled onions it’s the perfect bite.

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar, or more as needed
  • 1 pound fresh chicken livers, the very freshest you can find
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Cognac
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Belgian endives
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted and halved diagonally
  • 1 cup arugula

Method

Place the onion slices in a jar or small bowl and add enough vinegar to cover. Cover the container and set aside for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight to pickle the onions.

Rinse the chicken livers well with cold water then gently pat them dry with paper towels, removing as much moisture as possible. Heat a large skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add a 2-count of oil to the pan and when it is hot add half the chicken livers and half the shallots. (Not overcrowding the pan is the key to cooking the chicken livers properly.) Sauté for 2 minutes, then add ¼ cup of the Cognac. Carefully use a match to ignite the Cognac and let it reduce slightly, season the livers with salt and pepper, and transfer to a food processor. Return the skillet to the heat, get it hot again, and repeat with the remaining livers, shallots, and Cognac. Add the second batch of sautéed livers to the food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the pâté into a bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, and refrigerate until well chilled.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Halve the endives lengthwise and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat and, once hot, add the butter and the endives, cut side down. Sauté for 5 minutes to brown the endives, then slide the skillet into the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the endives are tender and caramelized.

To serve, smear a nice amount of the chicken liver pâté on each piece of grilled bread. Add a few endive spears and top with a few rounds of the pickled red onion and some arugula.

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