Serves four as a starter or light main course
- 400g chicken livers, trimmed, rinsed and thoroughly dried
- 2 small eating apples – Braeburn or similarly sweet, crisp variety
- 4 sticks celery, washed, de-strung and sliced
- A medium head of red radicchio, or white chicory, leaves separated, washed and dried
- A large bunch of watercress, washed and dried
- A handful of toasted hazelnuts
- 30g butter
- 2 tbsp oil
- a splash of Cognac
- 50ml raspberry or old sherry vinegar
- salt and black pepper
For the vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon mellow grainy mustard
- A brief grinding of black pepper
- A tbsp lemon juice
- 3-4 tbsp hazelnut oil (taste as you go)
First make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl cream the mustard with the pepper and vinegar in until thoroughly mixed. Whisk in the oil until you end up with a thick emulsion.
Now prepare the salad. Firstly, wash, dry and core the apples. Peeling them is optional. Arrange them, along with the radicchio or chicory leaves and the celery in four shallow bowls or plates and drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette to stop the apples from discolouring. Toss gently. Top with the watercress and toasted nuts, keeping them clear of the dressing.
Melt the butter in a frying pan with the oil. Season the livers generously and fry briskly for a couple of minutes. Carefully pour in the Cognac and set it alight, shaking the pan to distribute the flames. Once they die down, reduce the heat and continue cooking for a couple of minutes more until the liquid has all but evaporated and the livers are glossy and cooked. With a slotted spoon, transfer the livers to the salad plates and return the pan to the hob. Turn up the heat.
Now for the second dressing...
Add the raspberry or sherry vinegar and let it bubble and froth, scraping up all the meaty, spirity pan residues. When it's reduced to a syrupy consistency, which will happen very quickly, take the pan off the heat and spoon carefully over the livers and leaves, ensuring fair distribution.
Serve with crusty bread and a glass of Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese, von Kesselstatt 2013