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Hey, liver haters! One bite of this smoked oyster and cod liver pate recipe may have you singing a different tune. Cod livers have a much milder flavor than chicken or beef liver. A veritable nutrient powerhouse, cod liver is packed with omega-3s and vitamin A. Meanwhile, the oysters are an excellent source of protein and iron. Perhaps just as important, this liver spread is delicious!

Smoked Oyster and Cod Liver Pate on a cracker, with additional pate in a ramekin in the background

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This recipe for smoked oyster and cod liver pate came about as part of my personal goal to learn to love liver.

Yes, it is fine to skip a few healthy foods (such as liver) if you dislike them. Nevertheless, I thought I’d work on my dietary quality a little more. It’s one of my current self-improvement goals.

Repeated exposure to a non-preferred food is one of the techniques that is supposed to expand the palate. I can tell you that I don’t think I’ll ever love beef liver with onions, regardless of how many times I try them.

This cod liver recipe has a much milder (read: more tolerable) flavor than beef liver. When you add in the smoky oysters, shallots, and garlic, the dreaded liver flavor is nearly absent.

As an added benefit over beef liver, the canned seafood here is ready to eat, cutting down on prep time. If you are on a tight budget, canned seafood tends to be less expensive than fresh. Why not give this recipe a go?

Cod Liver Pate Recipe

Here are the ingredients you need to make fish liver pate:

  • 1 tin cod livers packed in their own oil (121 grams)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cod liver oil (from the canned cod liver)
  • 1 tin smoked oysters packed in olive oil (85 grams after draining, sardines may be substituted)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon drained capers
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (i.e., finely grated lemon peel)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • black pepper and chopped chives, to garnish
cod liver pate ingredients

Get a printable recipe card at the end of the post!

And here are step-by-step instructions to make cod liver and smoked oyster pate:

  1. In a small pan, saute the shallot and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil from the oyster container. You want them to be translucent but not browned. (This will take less than 10 minutes.)
make cod liver pate
  1. Put the drained oysters, cod livers with up to 2 tablespoons of their oil, shallot mixture, wine, capers, lemon zest, oregano in a food processor or blender. Blend into a smooth consistency.
how to make cod liver pate
  1. Pack the pate into a 1½ or 2-cup ramekin. Seal cling film over the surface of the pate. Refrigerate overnight to allow it to firm up.
cod liver pate
  1. When ready to serve, remove the cling film and garnish with the chives (or other fresh herbs) and black pepper. Serve with your choice of fresh sliced vegetables, whole grain crackers, cheese, or pork rinds to dip.
  1. Pro tip: Seal the pate with a thin layer of melted ghee, if you’d like to skip the cling film. You will need to reseal the pate with more ghee each time you cut into it. When preserved in this way, the pate should keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Where do you buy tinned cod livers?

Cod liver oil is extremely easy to find in my area. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find tinned cod livers at any of the stores that I typically shop at. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you may have better luck than I am having.

Since my preference is for whole and minimally processed foods, I wanted to find the cod livers instead of using the oil. Happily, Amazon carries canned cod livers (packed in their own oil) in a variety of brands. King Oscar brand is a great choice, but you can use Threeline Icelandic cod liver or another brand with success too.

canned cod liver

If you can’t find cod liver locally, buying online is a great choice. The other seafood ingredient, tinned smoked oysters, tend to be very easy to find.

Using a blend of oysters and cod liver in this pate helps to hide the liver flavor. Also, using multiple tins of liver would have made a serving of this pate extraordinarily high in vitamin A.

The oysters are higher in protein and iron than the cod liver. Using different types of seafood here gets you a wider range of nutrient benefits.

How to Eat Cod Liver

As I mentioned above, liver is a nutrient powerhouse. It is important to respect such a nutrient-dense food by being mindful of your portion size.

In general, I recommend that a healthy adult consumes no more than one serving of this recipe per day. A little goes a long way with this smoked oyster and cod liver pate! I could easily eat half or (maybe) the whole recipe below, but that may not be the best idea.

My main concern is that it is very easy to go over the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin A with cod liver. The UL for vitamin A for most adults is 10,000 IU per day. This UL applies to animal-sourced vitamin A foods only (and certain supplements), not to plant-based provitamin A carotenoids.

Cronometer did not have the vitamin A content of the King Oscar cod liver. A similar cod liver product (TouSain brand) contains 11,011 IU vitamin A for 121 grams, the amount used in this recipe.

That means that the cod liver in ¼ of this recipe (one serving) would provide approximately 2,753 IU of vitamin A. That leaves some room for other foods with animal-sourced vitamin A while keeping you under the UL.

Side Effects of Taking Cod Liver Oil

Children have a much lower UL for vitamin A than adults do. The current tolerable upper intake levels for animal-sourced vitamin A for children is as follows:

  • Age 3 and under: 2,000 IU
  • For ages 4-8: 3,000 IU
  • Ages 9-13: 5,667 IU
  • Ages 14-18: 9,337 IU

The serving size of this smoked oyster and cod liver pate is too large for some children. For little ones, a small taste is enough (think of it as a whole food vitamin). Teens should be fine with a portion size similar to mom and dad.

Most of the risk of vitamin overdose comes from supplement use. However, there are a few published cases implicating liver in vitamin A toxicity.

For example, here is a case involving a young child who had regularly consumed excessive amounts of chicken liver spread. His death was related to hypervitaminosis A, mostly due to the vitamin A contribution from the liver.

His two siblings consumed a similar diet. One suffered from long-term consequences, while the other remained healthy.

Most of us do not know whether we have a lower or higher vitamin A tolerance. The UL represents an upper safety level for most individuals in the population. It is probably wise to heed this guideline.

Cod Liver Benefits

Cod liver is rich in healthy omega-3s and monounsaturated fats. Unlike cod, which is a low-fat protein, cod liver is rich in DHA and EPA. (P.S. There is no UL for omega-3s, though consuming excessive doses may result in reduced immune function.)

This leads to a topic I’ve mused about a bit on social media concerning conditional versus essential fatty acids (EFAs). Why aren’t DHA and ARA considered EFAs, rather than ALA and LA? Doesn’t that make sense, since the primary importance of LA and ALA are as precursors to ARA and DHA (respectively)?

Animal-based foods are the main sources of DHA and ARA in the diet. The conversion of the precursors to DHA and ARA are known to be quite low. Animal-based foods (e.g., cod liver) might be thought of as far more critical nutritionally if mainstream perspectives were changed regarding EFAs.

Similarly, the preformed vitamin A in animal-sourced foods is highly bioavailable, while the body must convert provitamin A carotenoids (in plants) to vitamin A. The conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A is not as efficient as once thought. It depends on factors such as which food matrix contains the provitamin A (i.e., the type of food) and individual variation.

Some of us may convert provitamin A carotenoids to vitamin A more easily due to genetic variations. “Provitamin A carotenoids might not be a good vitamin A source for those subjects of the poor converter phenotype.” Mild vitamin A deficiency may affect the person in subtle ways, such as difficulty seeing at night.

We generally do not know who is a poor converter and who isn’t. Why not protect yourself by including some vitamin A in your diet from animal-based sources?

May I suggest this smoked oyster and cod liver pate to get you started? It is delicious!

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

What is cod liver oil good for? Like cod liver, cod liver oil is a rich source of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, preformed vitamin A, and vitamin D. If you don’t end up enjoying cod liver, a cod liver oil supplement may be something else to try.

Watch How to Make It!

Smoked Oyster and Cod Liver Pate on a cracker, with additional pate in a ramekin in the background

Cod Liver Pate Recipe with Smoked Oyster

Summer Yule
Think you are a liver hater? This delicious cod liver pate with smoky oysters, shallots, garlic, and a touch of white wine may have you singing a different tune!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Scandinavian
Servings 4 adults
Calories 174 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tin cod livers packed in their own oil (121 grams)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cod liver oil (from the canned cod liver)
  • 1 tin smoked oysters packed in olive oil, drained (save oil) (85 grams after draining)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon drained capers
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (i.e., finely grated lemon peel)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • black pepper and chopped chives, to garnish
  • fresh sliced vegetables, whole grain crackers, cheese, or pork rinds, for serving (optional; choose the ones that fit your dietary preferences)
Don’t be a stranger! 😊If you love this recipe, please come back and leave a rating. This helps readers and I’d love to hear from you. Thank you ❤️

Instructions

  • In a small pan, saute the shallot and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil from the oyster container. You want them to be translucent but not browned. (This will take less than 10 minutes.)
  • Put the drained oysters, cod livers with up to 2 tablespoons of their oil, shallot mixture, wine, capers, lemon zest, oregano in a food processor or blender. Blend into a smooth consistency. 
  • Pack the pate into a 1½ or 2-cup ramekin. Seal cling film over the surface of the pate. Refrigerate overnight to allow it to firm up.
  • When ready to serve, remove the cling film and garnish with the chives and black pepper. Serve with your choice of fresh sliced vegetables, whole grain crackers, cheese, or pork rinds (see note below).
  • Pro tip: Seal the pate with a thin layer of melted ghee, if you'd like to skip the cling film. You will need to reseal the pate with more ghee each time you cut into it. When preserved in this way, the pate should keep for up to a week in the fridge. (If you are here for recipes that support fat loss, keep in mind that this method will add additional fat and calories.)

Notes

💭 Expert Tips from Dietitian Summer Yule

This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Smoked oyster and cod liver pate is a high-energy snack that is full of healthy fat. It’s a good fit for keto and low carb diets and freezes well if there’s leftovers. The calorie count for this recipe does not include the optional foods you serve with the pate (e.g., hard-boiled eggs, carrots, potato, hard cheese, slice of bread, sourdough crackers, etc.).
If you have lower energy needs, consider some add-ons from different food groups to extend this snack into a meal. I would add a serving of whole grain crackers, some fresh vegetable sticks, a serving of cheese, and a piece of fruit. You can modify these suggestions as necessary to fit your dietary needs and preferences. 
 
Nutrition information is for one serving.

 

nutrition info disclaimer

 

All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.

 

The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.

 

“To taste” means to your preferences, which may have to be visual to follow food safety rules. Please don’t eat undercooked food x

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 1.3gProtein: 7.4gFat: 15.1gSaturated Fat: 5.2gSodium: 177.5mgFiber: 0.1gVitamin A: 225.5% DVVitamin C: 0.7% DVCalcium: 0.3% DVIron: 6% DV
Keywords cod liver, cod liver pate, keto, lchf, liver, low-carb, omega-3, oysters, pate, pescatarian, seafood, vitamin A
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FAQs

Is cod liver pate good for you?

Cod liver pate can be nutritious as it contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin A. However, its health benefits should be balanced with its high vitamin A content, which can be harmful in excess.

Does cod liver taste like beef liver?

Cod liver has a milder, less intense flavor compared to beef liver. It’s often considered less strong and more palatable, making it a preferable option for those who might find beef liver’s taste too overpowering.

👩🏻‍🍳 More Cod Liver Recipes

Here are a few more ideas for canned cod liver recipes to try:

  • Classic Cod Liver Pate: Blend cod liver with butter, herbs, and spices to make a creamy pate. Serve this smoked cod liver recipe on crackers or sourdough bread.
  • Cod Liver Salad: Flake cooked cod liver into a mixed green salad with vegetables and a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Cod Liver Stir-Fry: Add chopped cod liver to a stir-fry with vegetables and your choice of sauces for a quick and nutritious meal. Serve over rice or pasta.
  • Cod Liver Tacos: Create cod liver taco filling with sautéed liver, spices, and toppings like salsa, avocado, and shredded cheese.

👨🏾‍🍳 Cod Liver Oil Recipes

  • Smoothie Booster: Add a teaspoon of cod liver oil to your morning smoothie for a boost of omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Salad Dressing: Mix cod liver oil with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs to make a healthy and flavorful salad dressing.
  • Cod Liver Oil Mayo: Incorporate cod liver oil into homemade mayonnaise for added nutritional value in sandwiches and dips.

Remember that when using cod liver oil in recipes, it’s important not to heat it too much, as excessive heat can destroy some of its beneficial properties.

Hot tip! If you find the taste unpleasant, freeze cod liver oil in an ice cube tray to make swallowing the cod liver oil capsule easier (source).

👩🏾‍🍳 Other Recipes for Organ Meats

Are you a liver lover or liver hater? If you’ve got some secret family recipes for preparing liver in delicious ways, don’t be shy, share them with me! As always, I’d love to hear if you try this (tasty!) recipe for smoked oyster and cod liver pate.

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16 Comments

  1. I was so happy when I saw your cod liver recipe for patè but froze in shock when I saw the can of smoked oysters in cotton seed oil. Please be careful if you write about health benefits be wary that not all oils are safe for human consumption, like highly processed seed oils that should never have entered the food chain.

    1. Hi Christina! Thank you for writing in. Seed oils definitely count as ultra-processed foods, but there’s currently not enough scientific evidence to make a blanket statement that they are not safe for human consumption. In fact (to give an example), there are many patients in hospitals who are cachetic/malnourished and benefit from a relaxed approach to nutrition, such as including highly processed nutrition shakes that include seed oils. These foods can help the patient put on or maintain weight without having to resort to tube feeding. So I can definitely think of instances where these oils may play a role in a person’s diet that is not only safe, but possibly beneficial.

      I don’t give personal medical advice here, but in general I don’t have an issue with a healthy person trying to limit seed oil intake, and there are smoked oysters packed in olive oil if you’d prefer to use those. That said, one issue that can arise is that since seed oils are so highly prevalent in the US food supply, a person’s diet may become highly restrictive and potentially nutrient deficient without some degree of care in planning the diet if completely eliminating them. (The issue of whether these oils should be in our food chain in the first place is beyond the scope here.)

      Food fears leading to eating disorders such as ARFID can occur in a person of any weight/size, and can harm a person far faster than the occasional ingestion of a highly processed ingredient. Please take care, and be careful where you get your nutrition info, as there is a lot of potentially harmful information out there that is not tailored to a person’s individual needs. Summer 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to try this recipe. My go to is 1 can cod liver, 1 tbsp cream cheese, capers and sun dried tomato. Makes 4 servings. 1 slice homemade sour dough, spread one serving of pate. 1 can matiz sardines,sliced red onion, sliced tomato, olive oil and balsamic drizzle.

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, am going to make it again and again. The only drawback was that it never stiffened the way I wanted it to, but even as a looser paste was remarkably yummy!

  4. I love liver from a lamb. I’ve never had it from a fish. Liver is fantastic. Although, I’ve experienced gout a few times when I went hard on low carb. I’ve been more cautious since, I drink plenty of water, and balance things out more.
    Liver is so tasty.

    1. That is great that you love liver! I’ve never tried lamb liver. Would you say it is stronger flavored like beef liver or milder like chicken liver? I personally don’t follow a low-carb diet but I do prefer to eat fewer grains than is advised in the current recommendations. Balance is important and I think it’s a little different for each of us! 🙂

5 from 10 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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