Chicken Liver Toast & The Secret To A Good Chicken Salad

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….

Chopped Liver!

It’s time for chopped liver to make a comeback. I mean think about it: chefs flaunt their charcuterie and pâtés at places like Bar Boulud in New York and Salt’s Cure here in L.A. And what is chopped liver if not liver pâté’s chunky Jewish cousin? I grew up eating the stuff–my grandmother used to warn (as I mentioned in this old post), “Don’t eat that, it’s an organ meat!”–and to this day I’m not quite sure what she meant by that. But you’ll be surprised–if you put this on your coffee table with some crackers and a few whisky drinks (Craig made Manhattans) it’ll get quickly gobbled up.

Calf’s Liver

Working through a favorite restaurant’s menu will sometimes bring you to a dish you never expected to order. Case in point: Al Di La, in Park Slope, is one of our favorite restaurants. We were there this past Thursday night to celebrate the arrival of Craig’s parents and his impending film school graduation. Having been to Al Di La several times and having loved everything on the menu (the braised rabbit, the hangar steak, the pork rib special) the time had come for me to order the dish I feared the most: calf’s liver.

Liver and Let Die (Chicken Livers with Leeks, Balsamic Vinegar, and Dried Apricots)

It’s summer. It’s hot. Most people, hot in summer, do not crave liver. I didn’t mean to crave liver. In actuality, I haven’t eaten much liver in my life. I’ve eaten chopped liver–but that seems like a different thing: masked by egg and onions, eating chopped liver at a deli and eating a whole chicken liver is like the difference between eating canned tuna and eating tuna tartar. I’d had the can, I was ready for the real thing.

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