Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Love Your Liver

A Portrait: Liver and My Sister

Over at Prepare to Eat it is Love Your Liver Month. The challenge is three -tiered depending on your liver aversion/acceptance level and I highly suggest you check out her program.  Marianne gives reasons for eating liver that I support, but only vaguely remember. There are vitamins A-Z, antioxidants, copper and iron and etc. (remember in My Side of the Mountain where the boy living in the wild gets malnourished and he has the good sense to eat a rabbit liver and it saves his life? That might, deep down, be where it all started for me). But all ideology and nutrition aside, I just like the taste. If you have a strong aversion to the word 'liver' please stop reading. I understand; my dearly beloved and my co-worker Sarah both really do throw up a little in their mouths when I mention that I'm making it for dinner, so I get that there are physical reactions that trump reason. Maybe someday we can talk, when you're ready, but the following is really just for people who are game to try.
As a kid I had this uncanny knack for singling out both the most expensive and the most exotic thing on the menu without realizing it. Ostrich burger simply sounded better than Hamburger. I could be wrong (Mom, correct me) but I vividly remember my first encounter with liver at The Grand Canyon Lodge at the age of 8 or so.  The usual fare of chicken tenders and chicken pot pie was all running together before my eyes and then I saw Liver and Onions. I didn't know it was something only grandparents ate and everyone else thought was weird/disgusting, it just caught my attention so I ordered it, and I loved it. And I've loved it ever since. I have a recipe that I kind of swear by. It has converted a few agnostics (Reeds, Wierengas, Parkers, and you, hopefully, if you're still reading and you try it).  It comes from a fantastic cookbook that Melanie gave me for my wedding called The Ultimate 30 Minute Cookbook. I've made it with both calves and chicken livers. It's called Liver With Honey (though it's not sweet, there's plenty of vinegar bite). It goes like this:

1# Chicken or Calves Liver (I do recommend as natural/organic as you can get, we get ours through our CSA and since for some reason it's not in high demand and it's only $3.75 a pound.)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Honey
Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to a very low temp, 200 degrees or so. Rinse the livers and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dust with flour.  Melt 1 T butter and all the olive oil in a skillet over high heat. When heated through add the liver  and cook for 1-2 minutes for the first side, until lightly browned, then turn over and cook for another 1 minute.  Transfer to an oven proof dish and put the liver in the oven just to keep warm. Stir the vinegar, stock, and honey into the same skillet.  Boil for about a minute stirring constantly then add the remaining 1 T butter and stir until it melts. Spoon over the liver slices and serve warm!

Do let me know if you try it and like it. Or if you don't like. I wanna know that too.  


Valerie said...

I can remember the liver and onions moment at the Grand Canyon Lodge very clearly. Your three younger siblings at the time thought you were absolutely insane, or disgusting, or both.

liz said...

Sarah, admittedly, I've never tried the stuff. But I have to say that I've only ever thought of liver is with regard to a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

Calvin, with his classic gaping-mouth-tongue-wag-eye-squinted-gag face tells his mom that he'd rather not eat an animal's "poison filter."

I hope you can understand my hesitancy in approaching the organ with any intent to consume.