Monday, August 22, 2005

I am liver

This might be the best snack you can make out of stuff that most people throw in the trash: chicken livers, excess chicken skin, scraps of onion. I save livers when I buy whole chickens and keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Today I had two livers, a little skin, and a taste for something Jewish.

I chopped up the skin (perhaps half as much as would cover one thigh) and diced half a small onion. I put this in a pan over medium-high heat and cooked it for less than ten minutes, just long enough for the fat to render from the skin and the onions to begin to brown. (Meanwhile I fed the kid his lunch of grapes, cheese, bread and jelly, turkey, and polenta.) Then I turned the heat up all the way and added my two livers, rinsed, trimmed of their little stringy membrane, and patted dry. The high heat quickly turned the onions and skin--grebenes in Yiddish and fully worthy of its august moniker, Jewish bacon--a dark, delicious brown.

Overcooked liver is a catastrophe, so I pulled mine from the pan a few moments before they would have been completely done, and carryover heat finished them off.

I chopped the livers and the onions and Jewish bacon up on my cutting board and added a bit of salt. I don't like it too coarse, but I also don't like chopped liver to have the texture of creamy Jif. And that's the whole preparation.

It made enough to smear on two slices of toasted challah, but it would have been even better eaten while still warm out of my naked fingers. Sometimes it's a pity to be so civilized.


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