I was surprised when, in reviewing the lyrics to Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” I counted them up and discovered that he’d really provided only 6. These include 1) Slipping out the back (Jack,) 2) Making a new plan (Stan,) 3) Hopping on the bus (Gus,) 4) Not being coy (Roy,) and 6) Dropping off the key (Lee.) I figured what is acceptable for a kid who attended (and whose mother taught at) PS164 in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, New York, should be acceptable for me, too. I wanted to outdo Paul just a bit, so here are seven ways to cook your liver.
While the popularity of eating body organs has diminished a good deal over the years, it persists though to a lesser degree. In researching this article, I visited four local supermarkets with fresh meat counters and NONE of them had raw liver for sale! But, I know I could get it if I wanted to. I don’t actually eat it myself anymore because of health concerns, but as it was pretty much the cheapest thing available from the local (Kosher) butcher when I was a boy in Boston, we ate it quite a lot.
As starving students in college, my wife and I continued to consume a goodly amount of it for reasons that were largely economic. All caveats notwithstanding, I have learned at least seven ways to prepare it – four for beef or calf liver and two more for chicken (or other poultry) livers.
7 Easy Recipes for Beef or Calf Liver:
1) Fry it in the pan, Stan.
The easiest way to fix sliced liver is simply to fry it in an open skillet using just a tad of butter, margarine or oil. Liver cooks (and overcooks) quickly, so with a ½ inch thick slice, five minutes or less over a medium heat/flame is usually sufficient. Removing the outer skin before cooking it makes the cutting and eating of it easier.
Simple and common variations include grilling up some thin sliced onions along with it or frying some bacon with or around it.
2) Throw it in to bake, Blake.
Liver bakes easily and quickly either plain or in almost any kind of sauce that either enhances or conceals its natural flavor – depending on your tastes. In an open baking dish it fries out pretty quickly so covering it and/or using some kind of sauce or other liquid to keep it moist is generally a good idea. 20 Minutes at a medium (325-350 degree) oven should be sufficient. Years ago, when working in Residential Treatment with disturbed adolescents, we served baked liver and they wouldn’t touch it until my wife had the brainstorm of calling it ‘Elephant Ears.’ Suddenly, they couldn’t get enough of it. Maybe what we call things really DOES matter!
3) Toss it on the grill, Bill.
Yes, liver can be barbecued. On a hot grill, about 30 seconds on each side should do it.
Some people prefer grilling it as fish is often done, by placing some aluminum foil on the hot grill and then cooking the liver atop that. This, again, retains more of natural moisture of this organ.
4) Don’t let it get black, Jack.
Overcooked liver is dry and nearly tasteless. If it looks black, you have gone too far and might as well throw it out and start all over again, cutting the cooking time that resulted in the charring in half. This ought to work more successfully.
5) Just lay it in the crock, Jock.
Liver can be successfully cooked inn a crock pot, but because the process takes so long, it is important to add liquid so that the liver does not dry out too completely, as it is prone to do if overcooked by any means. Sweet and sour sauces are an easy thing to add. One friend of mine simply pours a cup of ketchup into the crock with it along with a teaspoon of lemon juice. It needs,’ be complicated.
And, as for chicken (or other poultry) livers, two common and popular recipes include:
6) Make it into a spread, Fred.
That’s right – Make chopped liver. The process involves first grilling the little livers, then grinding them and mixing the pulverized little livers with some finely chopped onion and seasoning to taste. Spread on a Ritz cracker, they will satisfy your hunger and exponentially increase your blood cholesterol all in the same experience, and finally
7) Fry them whole and hot, Dot!
Fried along with some grilled onions and eaten either ‘straight’ or in a sandwich, they are a Jewish delicacy called “Griveners.” Bad for your heart but good for your soul.
There you have it. 50 ways reduced to 7. All good ways to cook your livers.
Just listen to me.
And get yourself free.