Makes:6 to 8 servings
Pâté may seem like a highbrow delicacy, but it’s really just a genius way to use up chicken livers. While some rustic-style chicken pâtés are finely chopped, this version is passed through a strainer to create a smooth texture. The rich, slightly sweet flavor is balanced out with black pepper and fresh greens served on the side.
Game plan: To serve the pâté as a first course rather than an hors d’oeuvre, chill it in small 2- to 3-ounce ramekins (depending on how many servings you need) and divide the crostini and greens among individual serving plates.
1French baguette, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices
For the salad:
2 teaspoonscapers, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoonDijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoonolive oil
1 1/2 ounces (about 3 cups) lamb’s lettuce, also known as mâche
For the pâté:
Combine livers and milk in a medium bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. Meanwhile, place port and bay leaf in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf; set reduction aside.
Drain livers (discarding the milk), pat dry with a paper towel, and remove the tough cartilage and veins. Set aside.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add chicken livers, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until livers are browned but still slightly pink in the center, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter; set aside.
Transfer livers and shallots, along with any pan juices, to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add reserved port reduction and vinegar. Turn on the processor, pour the melted butter in through the feeder tube, and continue processing, stopping to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed, until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a medium-mesh strainer (do not use a fine-mesh strainer—the weaving is too tight to allow the pâté to pass through) set over a medium bowl. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture through. (It will take some work but will pay off in smooth, creamy results.) Discard the solids remaining in the strainer. Taste the pâté and season with additional salt or pepper as needed.
Transfer the pâté to a 12-ounce ramekin or divide between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap (pressing it directly onto the pâté’s surface), and place in the refrigerator until firm, about 3 hours. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before serving, let stand at room temperature until soft and spreadable but still chilled, about 30 to 45 minutes. While the pâté comes up to temperature, make the crostini and salad.
For the crostini:
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer (do this in batches if needed). Bake until toasted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat with any remaining slices.
For the salad:
Place the capers and mustard in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil while constantly whisking. Add the lettuce and toss to combine. Serve immediately with the pâté and crostini.