Thursday, 21 July 2011

Empire State on a Plate

Torre di Frittata con Patè di Fegatini di Pollo & Bastoncini di Cavolo Rapa Fritti
Pancake Tower with Chicken Liver Paté and Kohlrabi Fries

This is a very brave blog entry- not only because I have dared to prepare chicken-livers again, which are not at the top of most peoples lists, I know... but also because of the dangerous circumstances of this evenings photo-shoot. I think maybe my neigbor has taken to bee keeping as a hobby or something... otherwise, there I have no way of explaining perilous visit of the angry swarm in my kitchen! Boy am I glad I wasn't using any honey tonight!

The frittata's I kept really simple: egg, flour, milk and a splash of sparkling water which helps to make them a little lighter and fluffier. Season with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg and fry until lightly golden in a dry pan if you are me, or a very lightly oiled pan if you are not. You all know me well enough by now!

The chicken liver paté, which wasn't strictly speaking a paté at all, was easier still. I took chicken livers, the green ends of some spring onions, a little garlic, a squeeze of tomato paste, a little celery salt, a few chili flakes, 9-10 leaves of sage, a teaspoon of mustard and a teaspoon of lemon jam. These went into my blender and got whizzed for 10-15 seconds... that's how fast it goes! I then added a couple of tablespoons of breadcrumbs and whizzed it again, just to get everything blended together nicely. Add the breadcrumbs a little at a time- you just want to add them to make the consistency a little firmer- they soak up any excess fluids from the liver and bind the mix of ingredients nicely. The consistency you are aiming for is a soft and spreadable one- not too dense. I spread the first pancake, laid the second on top and repeated the process, so that I had 3 pancakes in all with 2 layers of liver paté.

Wrap the pancakes in aluminum foil and put them into your frying pan with a little water and cook for 6-7 minutes at a moderate heat, then flip the parcel over and repeat for the other side. The water helps to distribute the heat a little better and to make sure that the liver cooks thoroughly. 

Whilst the pancake is bubbling away, you can prepare the fries. Kohlrabi is something I had never cooked before and indeed today was going to be no exception and I was going to make a salad out of it. But at the last minute, I took the slices I had prepared and cut them into sticks and put them into a hot Teflon pan. Kohlrabi is in principle, nothing more than a large cross between a radish, a beet and something akin to a cabbage or broccoli plant. So I did without any oil at first, as they tend to give off a little liquid of their own, I salted and peppered them, added some cumin seed, lemon pepper and a hint of paprika and fried them at a relatively high heat for 5-6 minutes. After around 2-3 minutes, they will change from pale green to white and after a while they will begin to gain a little color. When they began to turn golden brown, I added a little olive oil, a sprinkle of garlic powder, a tiny pinch of sugar a light dusting of nutmeg and this gave them a nice finish.

I unwrapped the pancake, which was still nice and hot in its little parcel and trimmed it into shape. I thought it would be fun to cut little squares and stack them- but whichever way you decide to serve it- the flavor is wonderful all the same! I served it with a dash of Ajvar and a couple of sage leaves as a garnish. As a finishing touch, I gave the dish a scattering of cress and a few slices of cherry tomato to give a nice fresh accent. And there you have it- possibly the tallest, tiniest stack of savory pancakes in the world! Hope you're not afraid of heights!

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