It began as a quest for Sense and Sensibility. My roommate and I had a rare night off from rehearsing (for this play—Montrealers, take note) and were in dire need of some Austen. Apparently, we also in dire need of some food, because we returned from the journey with a chicken purchased on the spur of the moment.
When we got home and discovered that the chicken had giblets included, I was pleased as punch. “Save the liver!” I cried.
(My roommate did not get it. This will have to be remedied on our next movie night.)
I’ve had chicken liver a grand total of one time before, so I was a bit nervous about cooking it. My nervousness only grew when I looked in the cupboard and discovered that just about all I had to go with said liver was a single lonely shallot.
Nevertheless, I persevered, prepared to swallow the evidence of any mistakes, or throw it out if it was truly awful. Cooking for yourself can be incredibly freeing—kind of like singing in the shower when no one’s home. Happily, the liver turned out to be deliciously moist, while the shallot, caramelized with a splash of balsamic vinegar, provided a silky tang.
A quick note about liver: please be very, very careful to buy liver—and all organ meats—from organic and/or pastured animals. Organs like the liver and the kidneys filter out toxins and impurities, so if the animal has been dosed with antibiotics or eaten a less than proper diet, you’ll be eating very high concentrations of these nasties.
Fettucine with Chicken Liver and Caramelized Shallots
- 2 portions of fettucine (I used homemade because I’m geeky like that)
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 chicken liver, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
Fill a large pot of water for cooking the pasta and bring it to a near-boil.
Heat halt the butter over medium heat in a small frying pan. Salt and pepper the liver on both sides and add it to the pan, cooking each side for two minutes.
Remove the liver to a cutting board, throw in the remaining butter, and add the shallots. You should start cooking the pasta around now, too. Saute the shallots until they start to caramelize and smell heavenly, then add the vinegar and keep cooking them, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Chop the liver into a small mince.
To serve, divide the pasta into two plates and top each with half the liver and half the caramelized shallots.