Liver (and Onions): TEXAZ Grill
|Can you spot the liver smothered by bacon and onions at TEXAZ Grill?|
The Ick Factor: Liver suffers from the unfortunate stigma of being really, really unsexy. It filters blood, day in, day out, removing toxins and harvesting all sorts of fat-soluble vitamins. It keeps hormone levels even keel, synthesizes cholesterol and manages blood sugar. It's a solid workhorse, and what kind of respect does it get? Kids spitting it out, feeding it to the dog and generally turning their noses up at it nationwide. No respect. Liver may not be the sexiest of offal (clearly that accolade goes to the intriguing sweetbreads), but you sure would be put out if it decided to take a day off. Just ask that wino on the street corner for his opinion on the matter.
(bite into all the juicy details after the jump)
|Photo by i_love_chocolates via Flickr.|
|Beef liver in the raw.|
Tastes Just Like: Liver. Liver tastes like liver. It's rich and meaty with a metallic tang that lingers. It's a bit gamey and musky, similar to the change in flavor that meat undergoes when it's aged. This also depends in part on how old the cow is at time of slaughter, calf liver being much milder in flavor, kind of like the difference between sweet young lamb and old granny mutton. It's not unpleasant though, just acquired. It might shock your palate initially, but after the first bite you can't help but eat another bite, then another, and another, trying to place that flavor.
The texture of beef liver is also nothing like any other steak you've ever had. That weird salisbury steak mystery meat served in the cafeterias of yesteryear (or currently in frozen dinner form) is probably the closest textural approximation. (Sorry to ruin the mystery.) Pan-fried liver is dense and toothsome, but after some light chewing it crumbles and takes on a powdery, meatloaf-like texture. Kind of surprising. Like those gums that change from berry to mint on you mid-chew, but mega meat-flavored.
|Liver-y goodness from TEXAZ Grill.|
You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: It resembles dry and brittle shoe leather. Liver is a delicate cut of meat and if you sear the bejeezus out of it, the flavor and texture are going to suffer. If you've never had liver you've liked, it may be because you were eating the crap nasty boot leather equivalent.
Always been a DIY-er? Then you're in luck, because calf liver is widely available in most grocery stores. The best liver though is going to be that hoity toity organic stuff, and the fresher the better. Since liver functions to filter hormones and toxins from the blood, cows that aren't slapped with a chemical cocktail strong enough to knock a grown man on his ass naturally have better tasting livers. If all you can find is the commercially offered stuff at the grocery store, try soaking your liver slices in milk before cooking to help leach out any lingering funk. And remember, bacon makes everything better. Even liver.
Know of some offal we have to try? Leave the details in the comment section.