Chicken Liver Pâté with Blini and Pickled Grapes
Active: 1 hr. 15 min. • Total: 1 hr. 45 min., plus overnight resting
Known as pashtet, this traditional Russian chicken liver pâté gets its gentle sweetness and balanced flavor from being puréed with butter-sautéed carrots and onions. Though not a traditional Russian pairing, the fluffy yeasted blini, known as oladyi, and tart pickled grapes (the chefs use local white sultanas) brighten and soften the liver’s flavor.
For the marinated grapes: 1 cup muscat or other
dry white wine 1 cup white wine
vinegar ¾ tsp. sugar ¼ tsp. kosher salt 2½ cups green grapes, halved (14 oz.) For the blini: 3¼ cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup sunflower or
vegetable oil 2 Tbsp. fresh yeast 1¼ tsp. sugar ¾ tsp. kosher salt 2 large eggs 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
For the pâté: 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted
butter 1 lb. chicken livers,
cleaned 1¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus
more to taste 2 cups diced white onion
(8 oz.) 1 cup diced carrots
(5 oz.) 3 Tbsp. red wine
1 Marinate the grapes: In a 1-quart jar, combine the white wine, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Shake or stir well, then add the grapes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2 An hour before serving, make the blini batter: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, 2⅓ cups water, the oil, yeast, sugar, salt, and eggs until well combined. Let stand at room temperature until risen and bubbly, about 1 hour.
3 Meanwhile, make the pâté: In a large skillet over mediumhigh heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Once hot, add the chicken livers and season with ¾ teaspoon salt; cook, turning occasionally, until just heated through, 10–12 minutes total. Remove to a food processor. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion, carrot, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
4 In a food processor or blender, put the vegetable mixture and the prepared liver. Season generously with salt and add the red wine; blend or process until very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Press the mixture through a finemesh sieve if a smoother consistency is desired. Pâté can be served warm or at room temperature and can be made up to 2 days ahead.
5 When ready to serve, place a paper towel–lined platter or a rack set over a baking sheet next to the stove. Whisk the blini batter briefly. In a medium nonstick skillet, melt ½ tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Drop scoops of the batter by the tablespoon into the pan, leaving room between the blini; cook, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the rack or paper towel–lined platter and repeat with the remaining butter and batter (work quickly to avoid burning the butter).
6 To serve, spread the pâté on blini and top with grapes.