Beef Liver Pâté and Spring Pesto on Turnip Crackers

I know, I know, I was supposed to be drinking margaritas and eating chips this weekend, and might have if I were more social. Instead, though, I had a lovely evening in the kitchen on my own and made a “cook what you’ve got” dinner that couldn’t have been much better if I’d spent some time planning it: liver pâté and spring onion-turnip green pesto served on baby turnip slices.

Beef Liver Pate with Spring Pesto on Turnip Crackers

I had the beef liver left over the 1.5 pound chunk from the last time I got a grass-fed beef share, and I hadn’t been sure what to do with it. That time last fall had been my first experience cooking liver, and I learned that for one thing, I don’t particularly like the taste of liver, and for another, that grass-fed beef liver is chock-full of vitamins and minerals, so it would be a good idea to find a palatable way to consume it. That first time around, I ground some up to slip into chili with ground beef (a relative success, in that the liver flavor was masked by the chili), and made liver and onions (classic, I guess, but very livery and not to my liking.)

With this leftover bit, I wanted to try something else, and pâté seemed worth a shot — it takes advantage of liver’s otherwise strange texture and adds a bunch of fat and seasonings to mask its flavor. I proceeded by sauteing some onion, shallot, and garlic in bacon grease for a while before adding liver to the pan. For seasoning, I put in a healthy amount of fresh rosemary, some dried thyme, a bit of lemon juice, and a handful of dried cherry tomatoes that I rediscovered in my cupboard from last fall. Once it cooled, I food processed it to a paste with about a quarter cup of butter and put it in the fridge to chill under a layer of plastic wrap.
My plan was to spread it on some of these delicious baby turnips I keep buying at the farmer’s market, so I started slicing them up. As I cut off the greens, though, it occurred to me that I could squeeze some more nutrition, as well as more taste into the meal by making a pesto out of them instead of saving them for later. I food processed the turnip greens and olive oil with a few cloves of garlic, the solid portion of four spring onions, a little lemon juice and some salt, to make my second tasty paste of the evening.
Overall, I couldn’t have been much more pleased with this, and I’m excited to have enough for at least two more meals. (That pâté is rich stuff!) There could be some fine tuning, of course — I’m sure I could improve on seasonings in the future . The pâté is a very mild level of livery, but could probably be more carefully seasoned for maximum deliciousness, and next time I make this pesto I’ll leave out the garlic and let the spring onions carry the kick on their own — they’re definitely up to the challenge.
I’ve actually got another block of beef liver in the freezer from my latest cow share, so expect to see some refinements of the pate concept coming up. I hope it freezes well. Any experience or tips to share about that?
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