Half unctuous, half crisp. The cream, orange and almonds are borrowed from a trout dish we had at the rather elegant Hôtel France in Montmorillon, east of Poitiers. That’s where we splurged on foie gras rolled in black pepper, which almost cut the richness, and there was a lovely chicken with liqueur-soaked prunes to keep us amused. Terrified teenage apprentices in white jackets hovered about our table, little soldiers in the perennial campaign to preserve the hotel’s Michelin rosette.
Alas, they did not convince the dreaded inspector who must have arrived soon after we left.
Pat 3/4 of a pound of calf’s liver with a paper towel, flour it and sear it in a very hot skillet in a little butter: it won’t take more than 2-1/2 or 3 minutes the first side and a minute on the second unless it’s unusually thick.
Remove the liver to a serving plate and keep it warm while you stir into the pan juices — over somewhat reduced heat — about 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard blended with 4 tablespoons of cream (or crème fraîche) and the juice of an orange. Pour the sauce over the liver and sprinkle all with diced or slivered almonds toasted briefly in a small skillet.
Serve this liver with almost any kind of potatoes you can think of, or perhaps a little pasta with butter and grated cheese. And it’s good cold the next day with cilantro.
ALTERNATIVE! Soft pedal the orange element and replace the cream with a generous salve of marsala plus a little balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of diced scallion. The mustard remains the hub.