Olympia Provisions by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson takes a behind-the-scenes look into the Portland restaurant’s famous charcuterie spreads and other unique menu items.
When I first opened Olympia Provisions, I worried that I would have trouble selling my pork liver pâté, because the other liver pâtés—foie gras, chicken liver, and so on—are usually more sought after. Luckily, the year we released it, our pork liver won a Good Food Award (a sort of James Beard award for responsible artisan producers). It has since become our best-selling pâté. It’s lighter than a standard pâté, and we serve it on almost every charcuterie board we make, coated with olive oil and sprinkled with crunchy salt.
Note: this is a 3-day recipe, with 3 hours of hands-on time.
- Place the cubed liver in a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the black pepper, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Then add the sea salt and curing salt and mix a minute more; the mixture should remain coarse. Using your hands, mix the spices with the liver until well incorporated, making sure not to leave any spice mix at the bottom of the dish. Add the port and mix again. Cover with plastic wrap and the lid and refrigerate for 48 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Prepare an ice bath and set a large bowl in it. Transfer the liver to a food processor and blend for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, force the liver through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl; this is extremely tedious and will take some time.
- In a heavy pot over low heat, heat the lard until it is liquid, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Break the eggs in a bowl and whip with a whisk for 3 to 4 minutes—whisk, whisk, whisk until frothy. Slowly whisk in the cream and whisk for 1 minute longer, then pour the mixture into the liver. Add the melted lard to the liver as well and mix well.
- Line a 4 by 12-inch (10 by 30-cm) terrine mold with plastic wrap. I do this by wetting the interior of the mold, and then placing inside a piece of plastic wrap long enough that 3 inches overhang on all sides. Pour the liver mixture into the mold and fold the plastic overhang to cover the top of the pâté.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Make a bain-marie: Place the terrine in the center of a large roasting pan or deep casserole dish. Carefully pour simmering water into the roasting pan until it comes two-thirds of the way up the terrine. Cover the bain-marie with foil and transfer to the oven. After 11⁄2 hours, place a calibrated thermometer in the middle of the pâté.
- You’re looking for an internal temperature of 155°F (68°C); if it’s not there yet, put the terrine back in the oven and check the temp-erature every 15 minutes. When it’s done, carefully remove the bain-marie from the oven.
- Remove the terrine from the roasting pan and very carefully pour out the hot water. Fill the now-empty pan with ice, place the terrine back in the pan, and carefully transfer the pan to the refrigerator. Let chill for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature is 40°F (4°C).
- Peel open the plastic wrap from the surface of the pâté. Invert the mold onto a cutting board and, holding the plastic against the cutting board, remove the mold. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap and slice the pâté into 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) slices.
- To serve, coat the slices with your best olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and Maldon salt. Devour with good crusty bread. Wrap what you don’t eat in plastic wrap; it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Reprinted with permission from Olympia Provisions, by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.