This adaptation of a recipe from Richard Olney's The French Menu Cookbook (Simon and Schuster, 1970) can also be made with goose liver.
- 1⁄2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. mixed dried herbs (thyme, marjoram, rosemary)
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1⁄3 cup tepid milk
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 lb. duck or chicken livers
- 12 oz. cold fresh fatback, sliced into thin sheets
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3-5 bay leaves
Pulse bread crumbs, garlic, mixed herbs, cloves, and milk in a blender until ingredients form a paste, then set aside.
Melt butter in a small pan over medium-low heat, add onions, and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, remove and discard any greenish, discolored sections and white, threadlike nerve tissue from livers, then finely chop livers using a heavy, sharp chef's knife.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 4-5-cup terrine with the fatback, draping it over sides (set aside enough to cover the top once the terrine is filled), and dice the rest into little cubes. Mix together livers, fatback cubes, bread-crumb paste, onions, eggs, and parsley, and season liberally with salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix ingredients thoroughly. Fill prepared terrine with the liver mixture, and tap the bottom of the terrine two or three times against a wooden surface to settle its contents. Arrange bay leaves on top of liver mixture, fold overhanging pieces of fatback over, and layer remaining fatback slices on top, wrapping mixture completely; cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Set terrine in a baking pan, add enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the terrine, and bake for 1 1⁄4 hours.
Remove from oven, pour off water, then return terrine to baking pan. Remove aluminum foil (don't be alarmed by liquid in which contents seem to float; it consists of gelatinous juices that will solidify in the terrine, and of fat that will solidify on the surface) and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap, then place a piece of heavy cardboard, cut to fit inside the terrine, and weight with a couple of heavy cans. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving. Serve in slices directly from the terrine, removing the border of fat from each slice or not, as you like.