Back when Steven and I were both at the UW, we would frequent a little French bakery a few minutes from campus. Le Fournil not only had delicious croissants, too-gorgeous-to-be-edible pastries, freshly baked bread, but they also made some pretty amazing sandwiches. It was there that I first experienced the heavenly combination of a ham and butter sandwich but it can't top my favorite, their pate and cornichon sandwich. The flavors of the rich pate, intensely sour cornichons, and just a hint of Dijon mustard to tickle your nose marry perfectly on a crusty baguette, creating a perfect sandwich.
I always save the giblets after I roast chickens. The necks are added to stocks. The heart and gizzards are "red cooked." Last but not least, the livers are reserved for chicken liver pate. I'm not sure what kind of pate the bakery uses but I attempted to recreate my favorite sandwich at home with chicken liver pate. With so many chicken liver pate recipes out there, I adapted a recipe by Julia Child, who is my resource for all things French.
Chicken Liver Pate
Adapted from Julia Child
1/2 lb chicken livers, trimmed of any fat or gristle
1 C milk
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/4 C chicken broth
1 stick butter (and 1 additional Tbsp if sealing the pate)
1 Tbsp brandy or Cognac
1/2 tsp salt
1 sprig of thyme, leaves roughly chopped
After washing and trimming the livers, soak them in milk for 4 hours to overnight. After soaking, drain the livers and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, salt, and pepper. Once the onions start to soften and develop some color along the edges, add the chopped thyme leaves, chicken livers, and chicken broth. Cover and simmer until the livers are fully cooked, about 12 minutes.
Transfer the entire contents of the saucepan to a food processor. Cut the remaining 7 tablespoons of butter into pats. Add the butter and liquor to the food processor and puree until smooth.
Optional step before chilling: sealing the pate
Melt a tablespoon of butter and pour it over the top of the pate.
Transfer the contents to ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until set, at least 4 hours.
Pate will taste better after a night in the fridge as the flavors develop. A sealed pate will keep up to a week and it can also be frozen.
Pate and Cornichon Sandwich
A section of crusty baguette, cut in half
Strong dijon mustard
Cornichons, sliced in half lengthwise
Add a thin layer of dijon to the top half of the baguette. On the bottom half spread a generous layer of pate and add the cornichon halves on top of the pate. Enjoy!