“‘I think I prefer a country pâté to this foie gras.’ She looked at me as one looks at the insane, started talking about Mozart, and a great friendship was nipped in the bud”
Anthony Peregrine in The Telegraph
Towards the end of our tour around Ireland my son and I stopped off at the festival at Waterford – a really lively and varied event with all kinds of live music, acrobatic displays, parades – the lot. In order to evaluate the choice and decide what to go and see first we decided to fortify ourselves with a simple lunch at a café, Berfranks, on the quay. I ordered chicken liver pâté and it was the best I’d ever eaten. As it happens, I agree with Anthony Peregrine. I prefer a good chicken liver pâté to foie gras which is just too over-the-top rich for me.
We chose our entertainment too well! We had such an excellent time that we were late getting back to the underground car park, which was locked up like Fort Knox when we got there with our car inside…. together with everything, toothbrush, contact lenses, mobile phone charger…. AND it was a bank holiday, so not due to reopen for another two days!
Once safely home, I contacted Frank and Bernadette Trevvaud – the proprietors of Berfrank and asked for the recipe, which they very helpfully supplied, suggesting at the same time that it be served with buttered toast (or even better, Irish paprika soldiers), redcurrant jelly and gherkins.
If you want to ponce up your chicken liver pâté you can get inspiration from a sublime version I savoured at Dan Moon at The Gainsborough, in Bath. Moon’s version was glazed with a layer of elderflower jelly, and embellished (yes, I mean ’embellished’, see the image) with toasted chopped nuts (hazelnuts were there) and blackberries. Well, we can all dream….
Here, however, is the Trevvaud’s, straightforward and wonderful, recipe:
Recipe for brandied chicken liver pâté
- 225g/8 oz well-trimmed chicken livers
- 1 banana shallot, chopped fine
- A bay leaf and some thyme
- Smoked salt and Indonesian long black pepper
- Salted butter – couple of knobs – plus another couple – melted
- 2 tbsp brandy
- In a saucepan without a non-stick surface, cook the shallot, the thyme, bay, livers and seasoning in a little water for about four minutes. Keep the livers pink.
- Strain, remove the bay leaf, and leave to cool
- Use a stick blender to mix
- Add a couple of knobs (two melted tablespoons) of butter and brandy and blend a bit more. Check seasoning
- Divide between ramekins, pour over the rest of the melted butter
- When cold, put in fridge where it will keep for at least a week