Stop gagging! Some people actually love liver! Not us necessarily, but some people. Mind you, we’ve never actually met these people, but we’re sure they exist. Even our parents, who used to force us to eat liver at least once a month as we were growing up, aren’t huge fans. In fact we realized that as soon as our parents became empty-nesters, they cook liver, like never! We can’t recall calling or popping in on our folks, and hearing them say “Oh, we’re just frying up some nice liver for dinner. Why don’t you join us?”. In fact, during a recent Mia Kouppa session, when we surprised our parents with a piece of liver and asked them to show us how to prepare it, we are pretty sure that our mom sighed and our dad cringed.
But still, we are trying to keep this real. If you grew up in a traditional, typical Greek family as we did, you were probably forced to eat liver, at least occasionally. Not entirely surprising when you think about it. Liver is relatively inexpensive, and quite good for you. It is very high in protein, iron, folate and vitamins B-6 and B-12. Liver is also an incredible source of vitamin A; in fact you must eat liver in moderation so that you don’t ingest toxic amounts of vitamin A (like really, this is an issue??). And finally, knowing how hard many immigrant parents worked, and the fact that liver could be cooked and served (with a little pre-planning) in well under 10 minutes…it’s a wonder we weren’t forced to eat it more often! Maybe our parents knew about vitamin A toxicity!?
All these reasons, and the fact that we have
fond memories of eating liver as children, meant that we couldn’t skip over this recipe, just because we’re pretty sure it won’t be very popular. In actual fact, after having a taste, we realized that although not a favourite meal, liver actually isn’t so bad. The trick is to serve it with a lot (like, a LOT) of fresh lemon. So here you go! A recipe from our childhood, which is possibly also from your childhood, available so that we can now introduce into the next generation’s childhood.
Although you can choose to make this recipe with either calf or beef liver, the calf liver does have a milder taste; it may be a bit more expensive than beef liver, but is still quite reasonably priced.
Liver cooks quickly. We prefer it to have a slight pink center, which means that the total cooking time is only a few minutes per side. If the liver cooks for much longer it can get quite tough and chewy. When done right, fried liver actually has a very mild texture and full but not overpowering taste.
According to our parents, soaking the liver in milk and vinegar helps to remove some of the “liver” taste (whatever that means) and the bacteria. The “liver” taste, maybe…but the part about the bacteria doesn’t really make any sense. In any case, we did as they said and the liver was…if not delicious (it IS liver after all)…still very, very good.
Liver isn’t really something that makes for great leftovers. So, cook up only what you will be eating for a given meal.
Mia Kouppa: Fried liver
- 2 slices of calf or beef liver (about 0.2 kilograms or approximately 1/2 pound)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- olive oil for frying
- lemon wedges
- Combine the milk and red wine vinegar. Place your liver in a shallow plate and pour the milk mixture over it to cover completely. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, oregano, pepper and salt.
- Remove the liver from the milk mixture and coat it thoroughly in the flour.
- Pour the olive oil into a frying pan so that it is 1/2 inch deep. Heat over medium heat and add the liver slices to the hot oil. Fry for 2 – 3 minutes per side, depending upon the thickness of the liver.
- Remove from the pan and serve with fresh lemon wedges. Enjoy.