Chicken Livers: Country Pate Platter from Beckett's Table

Despite what the supermarket aisle may lead you to believe, there's more to an animal than neatly wrapped styrofoam trays of meat. From tongue to tail, offal (pronounced awful) encompasses all those taboo edibles that don't make the cut at your local grocer. Just Offal is here to explore these oft-neglected byproducts of butchering, featuring different offal meals from establishments across the valley.

This week: The Country Pate Platter served up by Beckett's Table.

The Ick Factor: For some, pate brings to mind images of butlers in fine-pressed tuxes and tails, delivering hoity toity cuisine on a silver platter. For others, pate is an odd and offal mystery meat "delicacy" that they wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Beckett's Table takes a different approach and puts a rustic country-style spin on pate, with rough-cut meats and an assortment of tasty toppings.

(bite into all the juicy details after the jump)

The Offal Choice: The country pate platter from Beckett's Table, made with chicken livers, juicy thigh meat, and other tasty surprises. Sprinkled with sea salt and served with toasty baguette slices and a variety of tasty toppers like caramelized onions, cornichons, fried capers, stone ground mustard, sun dried tomatoes, flakes of parmesan, breakfast radishes, and an amazing pepita brittle.

Tastes Just Like: A finer, more delicate meatloaf. A country-style pate is not as smooth as a foie gras pate, and has larger ground bits of meat held together by a binding agent, very reminiscent of a meatloaf.

Where pate differs from meatloaf is its higher fat content and the added liver, both of which create a smoother texture and a more complex flavor. The flavor of this country-style pate was meaty and not at all musky or overly liver-flavored. If anything, the liver added a depth of flavor and a smoother texture than a ground chicken meat alone. The addition of chicken thigh meat also added a toothsome quality to the pate, which was texturally interesting and made the flavor of the pate more accessible to those wary of all things offal.

You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: You have cooked your livers to the point where they take on a sickly grey color. They will be gritty and dry at this point, so it's important not to make your ingredients scream during preparation. Also, for a country-style pate you don't blend the whole damn thing into a fine paste. A bit of textural interest makes all the difference.

Always been a DIY-er? There are plenty of recipes online to help you cut your teeth on a variety of pates and terrines, but liver plus bacon does not equal a good pate, so use caution when searching for a decent recipe. Find a country pate recipe that uses fowl livers, dark fowl meat (the juiciest cuts), and straight up fat (it's good for you). In addition to your baguette or crackers, serve the pate with capers, cornichons, large flakes of dry cheese, and some coarse ground mustard. Bon appetite!

Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.

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Erica O'Neil