Saturday, May 12, 2012

Liver and Onions--"code: Special Steak"

I have never cooked liver in my life.  I think my mom made it once for us way back in the 70's and the dish was never repeated.  I may have tasted a bite of my friend, Amy's, once in the 90's at a restaurant and I never had the desire to repeat that either.  She swore it was one of her favorite things to eat growing up.  Lately, though, I've been dancing around the idea of organ meats.  I've been reading about how great they are for you and have even added an "offal" pack to the new meat CSA I just signed up with.   Then Peter Defty from Vespa planted a bug in Steve's ear about how he should start eating it, loudly echoed by our Crossfit coach, Marcus Filly, and then all I heard for a week from Steve was how he wanted liver.  So, the Crane family is going for it.

I got my calf's liver this time from Prather Ranch--make sure you get yours from a pasture raised animal and that it's from a juvenile, I hear the older the cow the stronger the taste.  I was nervous to cook this, Steve kept asking me questions about it and I finally had to have him leave the kitchen, he was bugging me.  The kids were the biggest surprise.  We told them it was "special steak", something we'd only get about once a month.  Sophia cleaned her plate and asked for seconds.  Steve and I were dumbfounded.  Leo ate his too but was fine with just the one serving.  Oddly, Steve was the last to finish--an almost unheard of phenomenon--but he did have seconds.  So, here's the liver recipe I pulled together from various methods and sources:

1-1.5 lbs. sliced liver
juice from 1 lemon
coconut milk
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee), or lard
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 red onions (I used some leaks too) sliced into rings
3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped rough

Cook off the bacon on a skillet or in an oven at 425 for 12-15 min.  Strain the bacon fat and set aside.  I did this in the morning with a 12 oz. package of bacon and saved 3 slices for later in the evening.  The bacon fat I just kept in the fridge until later that day.

A few hours before you want to serve marinate the liver in the lemon juice and enough coconut milk to cover the liver pieces completely.

In a shallow bowl combine the coconut flour and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In either the lard or butter and olive oil saute the separated rings until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.  Add the bacon, and keep warm in a separate bowl.  In the same skillet, add some more of the fat and heat to high.  Dredge the liver pieces in the flour and saute on both sides until golden and the liver feels firm when you press on it.  Not stiff as a board, but firm.  About 5 minutes a side.

Serve with onions strewn on top.

Notes:  I read in several places that soaking in milk was the key to taking some of the metallic taste out of the liver.  Sally Fallon, in Nourishing Traditions, recommended using the lemon juice, so I thought I'd combine both methods.  Maybe it was overkill but I wasn't going to take any chances.  It worked out great.  You can use regular cow's milk (organic whole or even heavy cream) if you want but we're dairy allergic.  I had maybe two bites that tasted like pate, but overall the experience wasn't bad.  I'll be repeating this one...

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