Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken Liver Love

I've been nosing around again in Jacques Pépin's marvelous tome, "Essential Pépin" and drooling on the pages. It weighs a ton - it would seem that food wisdom is weighty - M. Pépin knows cooking!

My Beloved and I happen to be very fond of chicken livers and M. Pépin, being from Bresse where the famous Poulet de Bresse chickens and, hence, chicken livers, are grown, has a number of recipes in that book designed to tempt a chicken liver lover.

If you can't stand 'em, you have my permission to stop reading right now and to come back tomorrow.

Inspired by one of his recipes, Chicken Livers in Salad, I bought a small tub of chicken livers last time I was at the supermarket and prepared to do battle.  Cleaning chicken livers is not for the faint of heart, but if you don't do a thorough job, neither is the result. It's worth the effort.

Once the livers are prepped and the pan is hot, the whole thing comes together in a flash - so fast, in fact, that I ended up rather too warm from the pressure of the preparation. Again, well worth the effort. The livers are quickly sautéed in oil and butter, set aside while still pink inside, while the salad is prepared.

The green salad, dressed with the pan drippings and balsamic vinegar, is a great counterpoint to the strong garlic and chicken liver flavors. Neither of the flavors fights nor dominates the others, and the crisp texture of the lettuce stands in happy contrast to the meltingly tender livers. 

Not only did we love every bite, Cora happily licked the bowl and pan in which it was made. Turns out we are a whole family of chicken liver lovers.

Chicken LIvers in Salad by Jacques Pépin

M. Pépin serves this as a first course, when it serves 6.  We had it as a main course for two and it was ample.

12 chicken livers (we used 9, but I will give you his whole recipe)
1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons corn oil (we used olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon crushed, chopped garlic
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley (we didn't have this, so omitted)
6 cups of large dice iceberg lettuce (again, we didn't have so we subbed in Romaine, which didn't stay as crisp as iceberg would have. Next time, I'll follow the recipe for the extra texture)
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Separate the chicken livers in to halves, cutting out and discarding the connecting sinews.

Heat butter and oil in a very large saucepan or skillet, until very hot. Add the chicken livers in one layer, sprinkling with half the salt and pepper and sauté over high heat for 1 minute, partially covering the pan if they splatter. Turn and cook the livers on the other side for 1 minute, partially covering the pan again if necessary. The livers should be pink inside.

Add the garlic and parsley and mix well. Transfer the livers and any juices to a bowl, cover, and set aside; reserve the drippings in the pan.

Put the lettuce in a large serving bowl. Add the pan drippings and toss to mix well. Add the remaining salt and pepper and the vinegar and mix again. Divide the salad among the individual plates, top with the livers, and serve.


Blogger Greg said...

Funny how my brain works. At first glance I want to turn away. Then I know that if you added butter and other stuff to make pate and spread it on crusty bread I be in heaven.Go figure.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013  
Blogger Diane said...

I rarely make chicken livers, as the one friend I have that enjoys them lives far away. We used to teach together and treat ourselves to a special lunch of chicken livers at a local restaurant. There's a brunch recipe for chicken livers with blueberry vinegar in Silver Palate that I have made on special occasions, but I have no enthusiasts in my family!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, you're right. Admittedly, all that butter and other stuff does make the flavor milder, but when properly cooked, these don't have much more liver punch than paté does.

Diane, we seem to be members of an exclusive club - United Chicken Liver Lovers of America (UCLLoA). Long may we wave!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I'm kinda with Greg on this one. Purely mental. I have eaten chicken livers intact, but I prefer the psycho elegance of pate.
I tell you what, though. I would eat goose foie gras in big, chunky mouthfuls.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, wow! I tried foie gras once but was turned off because it was just too gras. The one I had actually leaked gras. Eek. To say nothing of the poor goose.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Blogger nancy namaste said...

It's funny - I am not fond of liver but I like some pates, the chunky country kind with lots of french bread and sweet butter.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, I love patés, too, but this is much less trouble.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Blogger nancy namaste said...

Trouble? I just get myself to the store and buy it. No trouble at all. I know - lazy but still. No trouble. It's expensive but then I don't buy it very often.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, well, yes, that would make it a lot easier. :-) I was thinking this salad was easier than homemade pate...

Thursday, June 06, 2013  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Saw this when you posted if a d knew I had to have it. Went out the next to buy some chicken livers. Absolutely delicious. Thanks.

Thursday, June 06, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, you're welcome!

Thursday, June 06, 2013  
Blogger katiez said...

We love chicken livers - and the spinach is perfect - Chicken Liver Spinach Salad coming up!

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katiez, ours was actually made with Romaine lettuce, and the recipe calls for iceberg, I think for the texture. But, why not spinach? Fun to change it up!

Sunday, June 09, 2013  

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