Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Monkfish Liver Pate

monkfish liver pâté on toasted baguette slices with a sprinkle of Hawaiian lava sea salt
I enjoy eating monkfish liver but unfortunately for me they are rarely available. I was more than thrilled when my friend Ralph messaged me that he had some livers for me! One of his fisherman friends caught the monkfish off the coast of New England. After I pulled out all the visible parasites I wrapped the livers up and put them in the freezer. Now it is time to create a pâté with some of them. I thawed the livers in the refrigerator overnight. Although they have been in the freezer they still taste fresh. I think these livers are mild in comparison to canned tuna fish. My husband agrees that this pâté is delicious with toasted baguette slices with either a dollop of caviar or a sprinkle of sea salt on top...and of course, the drink of choice is good sake! Thank you Ralph and your friend for the tasty livers!

If interested you may check out my previous post, Fried Monkfish Liver. This post has a photo of the parasites that I was referring to earlier. While cleaning the livers the parasites may catch some of you off guard especially if you are not looking for them or have never seen them before. Don't be too concerned about them...particularly if you are planning on serving your guests these good looking hors d'oeuvre for the upcoming holiday season. After a good freeze and a few pulses in a food processor I can assure you that your guests and even you will not notice them. As my husband often likes to remind me,"it's just extra protein"! I am glad I am married to a fearless man! 

Here are two excellent links I found on sake.
Sake 101:  A Beginner's Guide to Sake and Fifty Best Sake.

monkfish liver pâté on toasted baguette slices with a dollop of caviar on top
Monkfish Liver Pate


5 monkfish livers (about 10 oz), washed well, removed any visible parasites, veins and membranes removed
1/2 cup of any good sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/2 cup beef marrow (from 1-lb beef bone marrow)
2 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 thumbnail size ginger, grated (about 1/2 tsp grated)
2 garlic cloves, grated (about 1 tsp)
1 small bunch of scallions, green parts only, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, hydrated in warm water, stems removed, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
2 tsp fish sauce (I used the 3 crabs brand)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper


1) Soak the livers in sake for about 15-20 minutes. Do this first while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2) Wash the beef bone marrow in cold water. Gently boil the bones in a little water for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and gently wash the bones. Add the bones back in the pot and put in enough water just to cover all the bones. Gently boil the bones for about 5 minutes or until the marrow can be removed easily. Remove the marrow and place it in a pan.
3) Heat the pan with the marrow over medium high heat. Add shallots, ginger, garlic, scallions and mushrooms. Saute about 3 minutes or until everything is soft. Break the marrow into small pieces with the spatula. Turn heat lower if the pan gets too hot.
4) Pour in the liver and the sake. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the sake has been cooked off. Try to break the liver into small pieces with the spatula.

still too much liquid
5) Add heavy cream and season with fish sauce, sugar and pepper. Cook for about another 5 minutes and turn off heat. Let everything cool down.

at the end of cooking it should look somewhat like this
6) Once the contents have been cooled down a little then blend everything in a food process.
7) Portion the finished pâté in small glass jars or ramekins. Use plastic wrap over the ramekins to prevent the pâté from drying out. Keep refrigerated. Serve warm or cold.

*If you have a hand-held blender then you may want to use a pot instead of pan to start cooking beginning at step 3.
*If you cannot remove all the veins or membranes do not worry too much since this pâté will not be too smooth.
*Once the pâté has been kept in the refrigerator you can take it out and leave it at room temperature for about 15 minutes in order for it to spread easily.
*You certainly can substitute salt for the fish sauce if you think it may help reduce the fishy smell.  

It is best to serve the pâté same day if possible since the taste is much better. I kept a portion in the freezer as a test to see how it will taste later. After thawing it in the refrigerator I find the taste to be quite fishy and not as good as when freshly made.

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