Masterchef challenge, day 16: Liver with Balsamic Vinegar


[Edit:] The picture is really sub-par. It's hard to take a good picture of liver. Sorry. :(

It's day 16 of Masterchef. The ingredients:

  • Calf's liver
  • Pheasant
  • Cooked chestnuts
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Red currant jelly
  • Cauliflower

Many people hate liver. I love liver. I usually stick to chicken livers because I am feeling less and less comfortable with eating veal these days (well, more guilty anyway), and beef liver is a bit too strongly flavored. I never see pork liver for sale for some reason. Fattened goose or duck liver (fois gras) is another story, of course, but not really very affordable.

Liver should either be cooked very quickly, or cooked very gently with a LOT of fat. Since the time limit as always is 40 minutes, I had to go with the cook quickly option. Basically it is soaked for a while in milk, drained and then tossed in corn starch, fried just until crispy, and then sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar. The milk takes away much of the bloodiness, and the sour-sweetness of the balsamic vinegar neutralizes the liveriness. Using bacon fat for frying adds flavor, but is optional.

I have to say the other two items didn't turn out as well: spaetzle with chestnuts, and a sort of sweet-sour-winey red cabbage. The combination was ok, but the execution left something to be desired. I show them here but I'll have to hold off on the recipes. The liver is recommended though.

Calf's liver with balsamic vinegar

For 2 servings

  • 1 calf's livers, approx. 150g / 5 oz. each
  • Milk
  • Cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: about 4 slices of bacon

Cut away any membranes on the livers, and slice crosswise into thin strips. Put in a bowl with enough milk to cover. Leave for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry over medium-low heat in a non-stick frying pan to render the fat. You may skip this step and just use olive oil if you like. Take out the bacon pieces and if necessary add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

Drain the milk away, and pat the livers dry with several paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, then toss with cornstarth to cover. Drop the slices into the hot frying pan and fry very briefly - 2-3 minutes on each side should do it. Don't overcrowd the pan; fry in batches if necessary.

When the liver is all fried, clean out the pan and return the liver pieces to it. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over the liver pieces. Re-add the bacon pieces if you have them.

Serve with noodles or spaetzle.

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