While chicken liver toast can be ordered on menus all around the Bay Area, we're partial to the version at Berkeley's The Advocate, where Chef John Griffiths adds a brilliant layer of currant pistachio relish to the creamy dish.
Sitting down to devour said toast at the gorgeous, modern restaurant on Ashby Avenue is a truly divine experience, and one that you can now replicate at home with the recipe! It's not exactly the easiest entree to make (and working with liver can be pretty gross), but we have faith in you. Good luck!
For The Chicken Liver Pâté:
(Yields about 2 lbs. of pâté)
11 oz. (320 grams) chicken livers
Whole milk, enough to submerge livers
2 tsp. (12 grams) salt
½ tsp. (4 grams) pink salt**
½ tsp. (1.6 grams) ground white pepper
4 large eggs
1 cup + 6 tbsp. (320 grams) unsalted butter
¼ cup (40 grams) shallots
1 clove (.8 grams) garlic
3 tbsp. (1.5 oz.) brandy or cognac
3 tbsp. (1.5 oz.) Madeira
3 tbsp. (1.5 oz.) port
1. Grease a ceramic terrine or casserole dish and line with plastic wrap, keeping plenty of extra plastic overhanging to be wrapped back over top of the dish.
2. Trim the livers by removing the veins/arteries and fatty bits connecting the two lobes.
3. Soak livers in enough milk to cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Remove from refrigerator and drain well.
4. 30 minutes before removing livers from milk, preheat oven to 225˚ F.
5. Meanwhile, slice shallots and garlic to 1/8 inch-thickness and place in a non-reactive saucepan with port, Madeira, and brandy.
6. Reduce over low heat until only a small amount of moisture remains in the pan. Remove from pan and set aside to come to room temp.
7. Melt butter and keep just warm.
8. Combine drained livers, salts, pepper, and shallot-wine reduction in a blender, and blend on medium-high speed.
9. With machine running, add eggs one at a time and then butter in a slow, steady stream.
10. Once mixture is homogenous, carefully strain and pour into the lined ceramic casserole/terrine dish.
11. Bring the overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the dish to enwrap the mixture. Cover plastic wrap with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil.
12. Set in a water bath in a larger ovenproof pan and place into pre-heated oven.
13. Cook until an internal temperature of 150˚F is reached, about 30 to 45 minutes.
14. Remove from oven, let cool at room temp for one hour, then place in the refrigerator to cool overnight or at least 4 hours.The pâté can be left in the mold or transferred to tightly sealed containers. Will keep 7 days in the refrigerator.
*Note: Pink salt is a curing salt (sodium nitrate). It lends a rosy color to the pâté and also aids in its shelf life. You can omit it if difficult to source, however the liver will discolor more quickly and should be consumed within 3-4 days.
Currant – Pistachio Relish
1 cup Zante currants
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar + more to taste
½ cup crushed, toasted pistachios (*Note: sometimes the restaurant uses almonds)
1/8 cup of fresh chopped herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano)
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1. Pour three tablespoons of the vinegar over currants and set aside for about one hour.
2. Combine vinegar-soaked currants with remaining ingredients.
3. Season with additional red wine vinegar and salt to taste.
1. Place the refrigerated pâté in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle or beaters and whip on medium to soften and aerate.
2. Grill or toast the levain.
3. Generously spread pâté onto toasts, sprinkle coarse sea salt on top, and finish with a generous spoonful (or two) of the relish.