Liver a Complete Guide

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Liver has enjoyed mixed fortunes over the years; many families in Britain would have eaten pigs or lambs liver on a regular basis as a cheap and healthy meal whilst only the affluent in society would have eaten calf’s liver. The latter became trendy on restaurant menus in the late eighties when Über chef Marco Pierre White was bold enough to serve it quite simply in his three Michelin starred restaurant.

Lambs Liver
Calf’s liver is regarded as the best followed by lambs and then pigs. A whole calf’s liver can weigh up to 1.5 kg and is expensive to buy which is why lambs liver is most often seen in butchers shops and on restaurant menus. Calf’s liver is a delicate meat and should be treated with due care, it is best cooked medium rare in thin slices with some caramelised onions and a splash of good quality wine vinegar.

If you object to eating veal in any form then lambs liver is the next best and should be treated in the same way, cook it quickly but be careful with the temperature of the pan; too hot and the outside will burn and the inside will be raw, too cool and the dusting of flour will turn soggy and the liver will shrink and broil into a tasteless mess. For me, pigs liver is a taste too far, often smelling of urine and the culmination of their daily diet of waste and left overs makes it a dish for hardcore offal enthusiasts only.

Chicken livers are best known for their role in pates followed by those warm salads served in virtually every restaurant in the mid eighties and usually with something as awful as raspberry vinaigrette. If, like me you were guilty of such a thing it’s like looking back at pictures of you during those awkward teenage years with bad hair and fashion sense. If calf’s liver is deemed controversial then foie gras beats it hands down. There are two schools of thought on foie gras, those who love it for the taste and nothing else and those who deplore the whole production of it. For an unbiased guide to foie gras please click on the link below.

Foie Gras

Content and picture © Miles Collins