Monday, April 6, 2009

Not For Everyone

Not everyone likes liver and onions.
I must admit, I didn't for the longest time.
Maybe it was because, as a child, my parents made me eat it and my mother cooked it until it was the texture of well worn shoe leather.
Just sayin'.
I don't really know what the texture of well worn shoe leather is.
But, her liver recipe and time tested cooking technique of said meat product would be right up there with it, in my opinion.

To make a long story short let's jump forward about 15 years.
I am pregnant with my first child.
I was having strange cravings.
Cucumbers.
Tomatoes.
Sweet Potatoes...baked mind you, with salt, pepper and sour cream.
And...
of all things...
LIVER!
I thought my body had been taken over by aliens.
This couldn't be me.
No!
Not me!
Liver was nastiness!
It was only good for feeding alley cats!
Why?
But, the cravings were not to be denied.
I asked everyone I knew if they knew how to prepare this...this stuff so that it was at least edible, if not flavorful.
My boss at the time said his wife could and I was summarily invited over for dinner.
That very night!
She showed me how to prepare it.
Assured me it was good.
Sure...
Right...
Tell me that later...
after I have worn this stupid clothes pin on my nose and gagged down this stuff that this controlling alien in my body was demanding.
Okay.
The meal was set upon the table.
My mother had taught me to be polite and at least try everything that was put before me.
As a good daughter, I picked up my fork.
I tentatively speared a piece of the offensive dish.
I swallowed - gulped actually - and put a small bit into my mouth.
I chewed.
My eyes got as large as saucers.
I could not believe what I was eating.
It was wonderful!
It was amazing.
It was not at all like the well worn shoe leather of my youth.
Tender.
Melt in your mouth.
Spicy.
Interesting.

With tears of joy in my eyes (I exaggerate here) I begged for the recipe. It was given without hesitation.

Over the years, I have prepared this dish again and again. It has evolved into something that is distinctly mine. I have tweaked it and added a bit of this and a dash of that. New spices as I discovered them in my travels. Different cooking methods as I gained knowledge in the kitchen. Small things that made it easier to serve and more texturally pleasing. Now, years later, this is my recipe. One that has been used over and over and made converts of many "Liver haters" world wide. (And oh, thanks Boondock Ma for reminding me of this recipe)

Mediterranean Liver & Onions
(serves 2 to 3)

8 to 10 ounces sliced liver, with membrane removed
Milk
6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Reserved bacon grease
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet sherry
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Place liver in large flat dish. Pour enough milk over to cover meat entirely. Soak for at least 30 minutes - longer is better.
Meanwhile, in large skillet, saute onion in reserved bacon grease until transparent.
Remove to a small bowl and mix together with crumbled bacon.
Drain and rinse liver.
Place in hot skillet with remaining bacon grease and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute on medium high heat until liver is just pink inside. (Any longer and you will get that shoe leather I mentioned above.)
Turn heat to low and cook about 1 minute longer.
Remove to serving platter.
Return onions and bacon to skillet.
Add sherry, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Stir over low heat until mixture is just hot.
Spoon over liver.
Serve and enjoy!

If you love liver, you should try this. Tweak it, as I did, and make it your own recipe. And, if you know of a brave soul who isn't a liver convert, prepare this for them. You may just gift them with something they will enjoy for the rest of their lives!

1 comment:

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

LOL, Bev! Your description of the liver you had as a youngster fit my experiences as a youngster to a capital "T"! I couldn't believe how wonderful it was when Pa fried some up for me the first time.

We do ours real basic, the trick being not to cook it too much. I'll have to show this post to Pa. Sounds like a fun (and tasty!) variation!