This time a year ago, Michael and I visited Paris. We rented an apartment in the 7th Arrondissement and could see the Eiffel Tower from our livingroom.
Turns out, among other things, Paris is a lovely place to snack. Here are some highlights.
Pain au chocolate – petit déjeuner des champions.
We took two food tours while there with Paris By Mouth. The first explored Eastern Paris Wine Bars and the second was an excursion into the Latin Quarter. Both were extremely enjoyable and definite highlights of the trip. We met some great people and were introduced to places we never would have found on our own.
We spent a sunny Sunday morning at the Boulevard Raspail Street Market. It was an incredible scene – stall after stall of organic produce, cheese, seafood, meat and baked goods.
Before the trip I read Barefoot In Paris. Ina recommended finding the potato pancake maker near the entrance on rue du Cherche-Midi. It’s been twelve months and I am still unable to aptly describe those pancakes. I wanted to eat them for the rest of my life. They were amazing.
We also found some delicious radishes, olives, goat cheese and vegetable paella.
We brought our treasures home and enjoyed lunch on the balcony. I loved that little orange table.
French macarons were prominently featured throughout the trip.
As was cheese.
The cheese was a vision.
We drank lots of wine.
We found crispy matchstick french fires at Verjus wine bar.
We met this guy.
One evening after visiting the Sacré-Cœur Basilica we discovered an amazing little gem in Montmartre called La Galere de Rois. This was our most authentic culinary experience of the trip. The staff was incredibly warm and friendly and the meal was traditional and comforting. Michael had escargot and Kronenberg and I had foie gras and wine.
I did my part to eat some form of liver every day of the trip – duck, goose, chicken, what have you. I loved the flavor and the texture and the richness and the way it was most often served in a charming little glass jar.
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to make chicken liver pâté at home. On the flight to France I read The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz and decided his recipe would be appropriate. Having never made pâté before, I followed the recipe very closely and only made one adjustment, which was to add fresh thyme to the sautéed onions (because I add fresh thyme to everything).
This may not come as a revelation, but pâté in the making is not especially attractive what with the deep red chicken giblets and gelatinous duck fat. The end result, however is delectable.
Chicken Liver Pâté (with port wine jelly)
Adapted from David Lebovitz
For the pâté
3/4 cup duck fat
1 onion, diced
1 lb chicken livers
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 large hard-boiled eggs
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp port wine
pinch cayenne powder
For the jelly (optional)
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp port wine
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp unflavored gelatin granules
In a large skillet cook the onions with 1/4 cup of the chicken or duck fat, stirring frequently. As the onions begin to caramelize, add the thyme. Once browned, scrape them onto a paper towel-lined plate and let them drain.
Add the chicken livers to the pan and season with the salt and pepper. Cook the livers, stirring often, until they are just-cooked through but still pink inside. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, pulse the hard-boiled eggs a few times, then add the cooked livers (scraping in any pan juices), vinegar, wine, cayenne, fried onions and the remaining 1/2 cup melted chicken or duck fat, then puree until smooth. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture into a pâté mold or jar and chill a few hours until firm.
To make the jelly, put the water and 2 tbsp of the port in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let sit 5 minutes.
In a small pan, warm the 1/2 cup of the port with the sugar, then pour it over the softened gelatin, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool until it’s tepid, then gently pour over the back of a spoon over the chilled pâté.
C’est très bonne.