Honey-glazed walnuts in a conserve of wine and figs add sweet and savory notes to this tasting course of chicken livers on baguette toasts.
- 1 cup California walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Vin de Noix or Port
- 1/2 cup dried figs, finely diced
- 1/2 cup sherry wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 12 chicken livers (14-16 ounces)
- 24 slices bread, baguette-style, toasted
- Sage leaves for garnish
- Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in preheated 275°F oven for 15 minutes. Drizzle with honey, toss to coat and continue toasting, stirring occasionally, until nuts are glazed, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Chop roughly and set aside.
- To make walnut conserve, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 5 minutes. Add Vin de Noix and boil 2 minutes, until reduced by about half. Stir in figs and vinegar and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in walnut oil and reserved walnuts and set aside to cool. If necessary, adjust sweetness with additional honey. Makes about 1 cup conserve. (NOTE: Vin de Noix is a French dry wine infused with green walnuts, sugar and vodka.)
- Heat butter with remaining olive oil in large skillet over moderate heat. When hot, but not smoking, add chicken livers (cook in batches, if necessary, so pan isn't crowded). Season with salt and pepper and sear on all sides until browned but not over-cooked. Remove from pan and let rest 5 minutes. Slice each liver in half horizontally, keeping halves intact.
- Place a liver half, cut side up, on a crouton. Place a heaping tablespoon of conserve on each liver and garnish with a sage leaf, if desired.