One of our most prized cooking books is The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson. Although this is not always practical as butchers have already removed much of the offal, we have found that if we buy a whole duck it will generally include neck and giblets.
Personally, I do not like to be the delegated one to “pull the parts” out of any piece of whole poultry despite my love for things like this yummy pate. However, with a little team work, we ensure the we don’t miss out on these rich culinary opportunities.
So you either need to get some help, or just dive straight in, stick your hand in the cavity of the duck and pull out all the treats the butcher has left. Separate the livers ensuring that they are in good condition (firm and pink).
With a sharp pairing knife remove any sinew then soak in milk overnight.
This recipe is for just the livers from one duck (about 100 grams) and will make two very small but rich pates that will serve four to six as a starter or amuse bouche.
100 grams duck livers
38 grams unsalted butter
half a shallot (fine diced)
1/4 clove of garlic (crushed and diced)
half a teaspoon of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon of orange zest
half a teaspoon of orange liqueur (Triple Sec)
salt and pepper
In a shallow frying pan place the butter and heat over a medium flame until it begins to foam. Drain the livers from the milk and lightly season them. Quickly cook the livers until lightly brown but still pink in the center – about two to three minutes. Remove from the pan but do not discard the butter.
Reduce the flame to low, add the shallots and cook until softened. Add the garlic, orange juice, orange zest and Triple Sec.
Pour all of the ingredients and the livers into a bowl. Then, using an emersion blender, whiz until smooth and then pass through a sieve. Pour into small pots and add a little orange zest to the top. Leave to set in the fridge. Once set, take a little clarified butter and pour over the top to seal and help preserve the pate. The pate will keep for about five days in the fridge.
We topped the pate with some black lava salt and served it with some lovely toasted bread that was baked that morning.