It reminds me of when we went to this time warp French restaurant in midtown Manhattan called Le Périgord a couple of years ago, with my daughter-in-law. Founded in 1964, it looked like it had the original carpet and the original waiters. I loved the dessert cart, with classics never seen today, like floating island. The fixed price lunch menu had a dish very much like this one.
Just rich enough to whet the appetite yet light; easy to make; stays warm well; inexpensive ingredients; elegant presentation. And less than 10 minutes into the oven. It also has a million variations, with (and I quote from Julia, p. 174) "ham, turkey, chicken, sweetbreads, salmon, lobster, crab, scallops, mushrooms, asparagus tips, or spinach."
Serves 4 as a first course
Preheat oven to 350º
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup boiling milk
1 cup chicken livers, pressed down (about 8 ounces)
3 tablespoons heavy cream or crème fraiche
1 tablespoon port, Madeira, cognac, sherry, etc.
- Heat water in a kettle
- In a small saucepan, make a béchamel sauce by melting together the butter and the flour, stirring until they foam, without coloring, about 2 minutes. Off heat, beat in the milk and seasoning.
- In a food processor or blender on high, puree the livers, eggs, and seasoning for 30 seconds.
- Add the béchamel sauce, the cream, and the wine and blend for 15 seconds.
- Spray four 1/2 cup ramekins and place them in a skillet or baking pan. Divide the mixture into them and pour boiling water around them, so it comes at least half way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a needle or knife comes out clean and the timbales have just begun to shrink from the ramekins.
- Run a knife around the edge of each ramekin to loosen the timbale. Invert a serving plate over each and invert to unmold.
- Garnish with one of the sauces below.
- Coulis de tomate: The sauce in the pic is a simplified coulis consisting of summer tomatoes cored, seeded (not peeled) then food processed and frozen.
- Sauce Aurore: Double the amount of béchamel (step 2) and reserve half of it. Add 1 tablespoon tomato puree or tomato paste, and optional chopped fresh herbs. (MAFC I p. 62)
- Sauce Madère ou Porto: Add 1 tablespoon Madeira or port to 1/2 cup demi glace, brown sauce, or leftover sauce from braised meats (MAFC I p. 75)
- Sauce Estragon: Stir one tablespoon chopped tarragon into 1/2 cup bdemi glace, brown sauce, or leftover sauce from braised meats (MAFC I p. 75). Off heat and just before serving, beat in 1/2 tablespoon butter.
|Stephen Yang for The Wall Street Journal|