Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sauteed liver: Abats 101

There are all kinds of 'abats'--organ meats. (French for slaughterhouse is abattoir.) But liver is the easiest and fastest and healthiest and, well, easiest to take for many people.

Julia has liver exactly right when she says it "cooks hardly more than a minute on each side. Overcooked liver is gray, dry, and disappointing—perfectly sautéed, it is a rosy pink when you cut into it."

The photo shows pork liver, my favorite, cut by the Meat Lab into lamelles, a little thicker than the usual. So it took about two minutes a side.

A lot of paper towels or newspaper will help--to blot the liver and dredge it. If you put it on the counter it makes a huge mess.

  • 4 slices (about 1 pound) calf's or pork liver sliced about ½ inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup or more seasoned breadcrumbs or flour in a plate
  • 3 tablespoons butter and olive oil combined, or clarified butter

  1. Heat the butter and/or oil over high heat. Season the liver on one side with salt and pepper.
  2. Dredge the liver in the bread crumbs or flour. Knock the excess of each slice and put each in the skillet.
  3. Cook about a minute on each side, or until it's springy to the touch, golden on the outside and pink on the inside (poke and peek until you can feel the doneness). Be sure to remove the slices in the same order you placed them, so they cook evenly.
Julia has some nice variations. But the best for me is the simplest: plain with Dijon mustard. But it takes only a couple of minutes to chop a bit of that precooked bacon that's always in the frig, adding some scallion and stock or wine and mustard to the drippings to make a sauce (which thicken quickly with the crumbs or flour).

1 comment: said...

Wow…liver. I love pork liver. What I always do is cut them into slices and stir fry with a lot of ginger and wine. I like the way you do it. Pan-fry it with butter, should be really nice too. I have to try it next time. :)