Sublime chicken liver salad with spinach, walnuts and raspberry vinegar

I first got the idea for this salad from The Hilton International Cookbook – a compilation of recipes of head chefs in Hilton hotels around the world.

Needless to say, most were entirely impractical for the normal human…. but nevertheless there were some good ideas in terms of favour combinations and so on.

The recipe for this one was submitted by Albert Schnell, at the Hilton in Toronto. The full title was Spinach, Quail Eggs and Livers in Raspberry-Walnut Sauce. The recipe was described as being:

“…a thoughtful balance of colour, texture, temperature and taste. A mound of spinach ribbons crowned with white mushroom confetti, red-orange tomato dice, and glistening walnut bits is accentuated by halved ovals of quail egg. The walnut flavour blends with the gamey liver and earthy vegetables for a salad that is at once fresh and rich.”

I was intrigued…both the Saucy Dressings’ Chief Taster and I are enthusiastic fans of chicken livers. This seemed a good alternative way to serving them on toast, or in pâté. Nevertheless, I was a bit put off by all the peeling and chopping.

Then we were travelling across France, staying the night in Tornus. We were advised by a friend to go to a particular bistro, La Bourgogne, within walking distance of our hotel, “and have the oeufs en meurette”. The day after he asked if it had been a good recommendation, and I emailed back saying, “oeufs en meurette good. Chicken liver salad….sublime”.

Of course, after that I got the bit between my teeth. I based my version on Schnell’s, but Life Is Too Short for peeling quail eggs and all that shredding so I have simplified it and tried to get it as similar to the sublime French bistro version as I could.

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