A few weeks a go a friend of mine suggests krill oil as an excellent supplement to take for stiff joints. I’ve never heard of krill oil so off I go to Google for more information. It turns out that krill is the new superfood of the Omega-3 world.
The next time I am in the health food shop I ask the nice man at the counter what he thinks of the bottle of krill capsules I am holding in my hand. He tells me it’s a good source of Omega-3 oils. I ask him how I might be getting these oils in my diet if I’m not eating krill and he replies that it’s found in oily fish like salmon and anchovies, mackerel and squid. All of which, I gladly inform him, I eat plenty.
“So do you reckon I need to spend £29.99 a month for krill oil as well?”, I ask him.
No, he reassures me, you don’t.
I don’t know if the salmon sashimi I treat myself to often is as ‘pollution and toxin free’ as the purest UltraKrill oil capsules sold in my local health food shop. I’ll never know for sure if the mackerel in my kedgeree has the same Omega-3 ‘potency’ as the the Active Woman Big Red Krill Oil capsules advertised all over the internet. And the anchovies I melt into my leg of lamb gravy almost certainly don’t have the same levels of EPA and DHA as Superkrill (I can’t actually say that without smirking… it sounds like a character out of Spongebob Squarepants!).
What I do know is that I enjoy cooking and eating them, that they taste good and that £360 a year spent on krill oil capsules is £360 less to spend on good quality fish and eating at my favourite seafood restaurant in the summer.
If you’re wondering how the mousse recipe fits in and if perhaps chicken livers also contain Omega-3, as it turns out, they do. Not nearly as much as salmon (and infinitesimally less than krill oil). However, I learn from my latest read, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary canal, that organ meats are “amongst the most nutritionally giving foods on earth.” I Google the nutritional breakdown of chicken livers. According to NutritionData.com, every 100 grams of chicken livers includes a cocktail of minerals and vitamins which provide the following recommended daily allowance (RDA):
- Vitamin A – 222%
- Vitamin C – 30%
- Thiamin – 20%
- Riboflavin – 105%
- Niacin – 49%
- Vitamin B6 – 43%
- Folate – 147%
- Vitamin B12 – 276%
- Iron – 50%
- Phosphorus – 30%
- Potassium – 7%
- Zinc – 18%
- Copper – 25%
- Manganese – 13%
- Selenium – 78%
Blimey, looks like chicken livers might be even more of a super food than krill! Who woulda thunk? Thing is, if I bought into the supplement industry’s promise of ‘optimal health’ and took a capsule or powder for every vitamin and mineral above they claim will make me healthier, I’d be taking an awful lot of supplements every day and I probably wouldn’t have any cash leftover to much else. Like making a delicious chicken liver and port mousse….
So instead I get on with a bit of subversive cooking. This recipe ticks all my boxes. I am flipping my spatula at the food supplements industry whilst tucking in to something tasty that aligns with my ideal of healthy eating and is packed with all sorts of exciting minerals and vitamins. Plus it’s cheap (liver costs about a third of what chicken breast costs), easy to make and relatively quick.
This creamy, spreadable pate makes really good nibbles. I mostly have it spread thickly on very crisp rye crackers, topped with a few capers and a sliver of lemon. It’s smooth and rich and a bit fruity from the port and the capers and lemon add a twist of acidity and a crunchy burst of zing. It will keep for a few days so it’s perfect to have in your fridge during the holidays to have on crackers or in chewy sourdough sandwiches with fridge-cold sliced gherkins.
I’ve whittled the recipe down to make it as quick and easy as possible without sacrificing too much flavour. The traditional approach would have you finely chop and slowly sweat some shallots in a bit of rendered bacon fat, and I’m sure that this must impact the taste. But it’s faffy and it takes time. If you fancy having a go and making it even richer and more festive, let me know how it turns out…
Chicken Liver & Port Mousse Recipe
Makes enough for to generously cover 25 odd Finn Crisps
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 500 grams chicken livers
- 2 tablespoons port
- 100ml of double cream
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (optional*)
*I happen to have a large tub of this in my freezer so it’s easy. If you don’t have any parsley skip it. You could drop a bay leaf into the butter as it melts in the pan, or ad a sage leaf if you have one. If you do use sages or bay, remove before blitzing.
- Melt the butter and oil in a medium sized, heavy based frying pan on a medium heat. Let the butter foam and melt before adding the livers.
- Turn the heat up a bit and cook just until the livers start to change colour. Add the port and let it reduce for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and, if using add the parsley.
- Let the livers finish cooking (they need to be pink inside or the mousse will be grey and grainy) and the sauce thicken for a few more minutes. The whole thing shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
- Leave it to cool for a bit then blitz in a food processor until smooth or use a hand held wand to puree it. If you’re feeling fancy, push the mousse through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl to make it super smooth.
- Place cling film over the surface to avoid discolouration. Keep in the fridge. Tastes even better the next day as the flavours have mingled. Keeps for up to a week.
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