The delicate acidity and freshness of the salad serve to counter the richness of the duck livers in this recipe adapted from Chef Shaun Hill, with a sesame coating adding a pleasing crunch. Chicken livers can be used as a cheaper and more accessible alternative to duck livers if you cannot find them at gourmet or specialty meat markets.
Ingredients: For the Duck Livers:
1/2 pound duck liver, trimmed and cleaned of all sinew
Light soy sauce, to taste
2 1/2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
For the Tomato Salad:
2 large ripe tomatoes, left at room temperature
1/2 celery, heart and inner leaves only
1 Tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
4 teaspoons mirin, or rice wine vinegar
Place a frying pan over a high heat, add enough oil to the pan to coat the base. Season the liver with salt and pepper. As soon as the pan begins to smoke, sear the duck liver until dark golden brown. Reduce the heat and turn the livers over.
Add a small knob of butter and a generous dash of soy sauce. Baste the livers in butter and soy from the pan and remove from the heat. Allow the livers to rest for 2 minutes
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices, season with salt and set aside.
For the soy dressing, combine the peanut oil, soy and mirin in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place 5 slices of tomato in a tight circle in the center in the plate. Scatter some of the celery and celery leaves over the top and spoon over the dressing.
Roll the livers in the sesame seeds to coat, then, slice on an angle. They should still be slightly pink in the center.
Add the sliced livers and a small sprinkle of the pine nuts to the plates. Drizzle a little more dressing around the plate and serve immediately.
Do not let the title of this recipe fool you. This dish is really a soup that brings out the best flavors of a homemade stock. You can serve it as a light lunch or it can start off your dinner menu as a first course.
For the Broth:
1 pound white asparagus, trimmed
5 cups rich chicken stock
One 3-inch rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 large bay leaf
For the Filling:
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1/4 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
A pinch of salt
A pasta machine
Make broth and filling while dough stands, coming to room temperature.Cut off asparagus tips, then halve each tip lengthwise and reserve.
Bring stock, cheese rind and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then add asparagus stems and cook, uncovered, until stems are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer stems to paper towels and cool slightly. Reserve the broth and set aside.
To make the filling: Purée asparagus stems in a food processor with grated Parmesan, Mascarpone, bread crumbs, parsley, pine nuts, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place the filling in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the ravioli:Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap, then pat out remaining piece into a flat rectangle and generously dust with flour.
Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting. Feed rectangle, a short side first, through rollers. Fold rectangle in thirds, like a letter, and feed it, a short side first, through rollers. Repeat 6 or 7 more times, folding dough in thirds and feeding it through rollers, a short side first each time, dusting with flour to prevent sticking.
Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding, a short side first. Continue to feed dough through without folding, making space between rollers narrower each time, until the second- or third-narrowest setting is used. Do not roll too thin or pasta will tear when filled.
Put the pasta sheet on a lightly floured kitchen towel (not terry cloth) with a long side nearest you. Drop 6 rounded teaspoon-size mounds of filling 10 inches apart in a row down center of right half of sheet. Brush pasta around mounds of filling lightly with water, then lift left half of sheet and drape over mounds.
Press down firmly but gently around each mound, forcing out air. (Air pockets increase the chance that ravioli will break during cooking.) Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, or a cookie cutter, cut the pasta between mounds, roughly 2-inch squares. Line a large shallow baking pan with a lightly floured kitchen towel (not terry cloth), then arrange ravioli in 1 layer in it. Make more ravioli with remaining pieces of dough and remaining filling, transferring to lined pan.
To cook the ravioli and asparagus tips:Bring a pasta pot of salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Bring reserved broth to a simmer, then simmer asparagus tips, uncovered, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season broth with salt, then divide broth and asparagus tips among 6 shallow bowls, discarding cheese rind and bay leaf. Add half of ravioli to gently boiling water, carefully stirring to separate, and cook, adjusting heat to keep at a gentle boil, until pasta is just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Lift the cooked ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well over pot, then transfer to serving bowls filled with the broth. Repeat with remaining ravioli Garnish with shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, if desired and serve immediately.
The filling and broth, without asparagus tips, can be made 1 day ahead. Chill separately, uncovered, until cool, then covered. Wonton wrappers can be used instead of fresh pasta, if time is of the essence.
Inspired by a chicken dish served with lemons and capers at the Ristorante Masolino in Panicale, Italy, this version is marinated over night and served with a charred herbed lemon sauce that can also be an excellent accompaniment to roasted fish or grilled root vegetables.
Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients: For the chicken:
12 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
24 sage leaves
16 garlic cloves—6 cut into 4 slices each, the rest gently smashed and peeled
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 slices
Strips of zest from 2 lemons
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped oregano
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
12 fresh bay leaves
For the Salsa Verde:
1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices and seeded
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, crushed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup baby arugula
To prepare the chicken, run your fingers under the skin of each chicken thigh to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with 2 sage leaves, 2 slices of garlic and 1 slice of butter. Transfer the stuffed thighs to a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest strips with the smashed garlic, olive oil, chopped herbs and crushed red pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile make the salsa verde by preheating the oven to 450°F. On a baking sheet, toss the lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the lemon slices in an even layer and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until charred on the bottom. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop the slices into 1/4 -inch pieces. Leave the oven on.
In a mortar, mash the basil, oregano, mint, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts with the chopped garlic, and the 1 teaspoon of salt until a smooth paste forms. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, stirring to create a sauce. Stir in the chopped lemon.
Heat a very large ovenproof skillet. Season the chicken thighs evenly with 4 teaspoons of salt; reserve the lemon zest and smashed garlic from the marinade. Arrange the chicken thighs skin side down in the skillet and cover with another large skillet or pot weighted down with a few heavy cans. Cook the chicken over moderate heat until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.
Remove the weight and turn the chicken. Scatter the reserved lemon zest and garlic and the bay leaves, if using, among the thighs. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with the salsa verde and scatter with arugula.
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