For as long as I’ve been roasting chickens (and I roast chickens all the time) I’ve been throwing away the liver that comes stuffed inside, along with the giblets, because–well–I don’t know: am I supposed to cook and eat that thing?
Well, yes. I mean not all the time. But they don’t put it in there to throw away, right? It’s in there because a chicken died and one of its parts tastes very delicious if you know how to cook it the right way. In fact, cooked the right way a seared chicken liver competes with the pope’s nose as one of the major treats afforded to you, alone, in the kitchen when you’re cooking chicken. So here’s what you need to do….
Pat the liver dry and season it with salt. Meanwhile, get a pan very hot with olive oil. You want to cook the liver fast so the outside crisps up and turns golden brown and the inside is pink. If the inside is gray, your liver will be chalky and you’ll be like “what was that bozo talking about? This is gross.” So do it all quickly, like this:
Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but see the dark, almost bronze color, on the lower left? That’s precisely what you want. Get it that color quickly and serve it, like I did, on a square of toast brushed with mustard and sprinkled with parsley. Or just eat it hot out of the skillet. Done the right way, it really is a prize.
Of course, while all this is happening, you’re roasting your actual chicken however you like to roast chicken. Chances are you’re serving it with white wine like Chardonnay or a Viognier or Gruner Vetliner. Do yourself a favor and don’t drink every last drop out of the bottle.
Because if there are just two of you and you don’t eat all of the chicken, you can wrap the leftovers in aluminum foil and the next day make a killer chicken salad. Here’s how I start: I cut up the leftover chicken meat with the skin still attached. In a bowl, I stir together mustard and mayo.
Add the chicken to the mixture, stir around and season with salt and pepper. I like to add golden raisins and walnuts, but you don’t have to. And here’s the secret ingredient: a splash of that leftover white wine.
It’s what Julia Child put in her potato salad and it makes so much sense. The white wine has a great floral quality, as well as acidity. Stirred into the chicken salad it gives everything a surprising edge that’ll make people say “oooh, what’s in this?” Only you’ll know the secret.
So roast a chicken tonight and treat yourself to these two bonus meals. Well the chicken liver’s not really a meal, more of a snack. But you get the idea.