Crispy & Creamy Mediterranean Style Chicken Livers

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on April 15, 2012

Growing up at home with my family we ate many unique items. Some of these items included breaded lamb brains and other interesting parts which included eyeballs and testicles along with parts of other animals like tongue. Mentioning all of these items that are otherwise known as  offal is not meant to gross you out, but to show you how delicious these items can really be.

Whenever I talk about liver, many people wrinkle their nose in disgust and quickly dismiss the opportunity to hear about something different or even taste it when available. I will say that although I still eat them occasionally, I do not eat them often. It is an organ meat and research has found higher levels of residue from antibiotic use concentrated in the liver and other remnant parts. In many factory farms, chickens are routinely administered with the feed additive Roxarsone a relatively benign organo-arsenic compound which partially decomposes into inorganic arsenic compounds in the flesh of chickens and in their feces which are often used as a fertilizer. Roxarsone is used to control stomach pathogens and promote growth. It has been found in chicken-liver samples and can cause neurological problems in a child who ate 2 ounces of cooked liver per week or in an adult who ate 5.5 ounces per week. Again, I’m not trying to scare you with this information but simply remind all of us that it’s important to be more responsible about where our food products come from. Make sure that it is as natural a product as possible and also make sure to support local farms who raise and slaughter their animals humanely…and that really should go for any type of meat that you may purchase.

With all of this, I still love liver and I especially love chicken liver. It is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B12 and other B vitamins like folate and riboflavin, so I hope that you will definitely consider trying this. We had them often at home mostly because they are so quick and easy to prepare. They make a great appetizer or a great light meal tossed in with a delicious salad. Add some caramelized onions, crumbled feta, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, parsley, lemon zest and a little vinaigrette and you’ve got a really delicious meal that is hard to beat.

Today I made some with seasoned flour and I also made some without. I prefer mine with the flour because you have that crispy and creamy texture going on which is so wonderful. The breading soaks up all of that delicious vinaigrette in addition to all of the other flavors – and well, it’s simply delicious and indescribable because it hits so many tasty notes…just consider it something that you really should try.

Mediterranean Style Chicken Livers

1 container chicken livers

1½ cups flour

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 large lemon, zest and juice

2 tablespoon dried oregano

1 large onion, sliced **optional

1 cup crumbled feta **optional

1 cup seeded and coarsely chopped tomatoes, **optional

1 cup quartered cucumber **optional

Sliced romaine lettuce **optional

Vinaigrette dressing

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1½ Tablespoons red wine vinegar (or any other acid)

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (or more if you like, should be tangy)

S&P to taste (start with ¼ teaspoon of each then add more if you need to)

Fresh chopped oregano or parsley**optional

Put all of your dry ingredients (except 1 tablespoon oregano) altogether in a bowl, toss and set aside. If you are going to use any or all of the optional ingredients, you need to prepare them now and set aside, and then make the vinaigrette.

When making chicken livers, it is important to clean them well by removing all of the tough little arteries, sacs and tendons that connect the lobes. I use a pair of kitchen shears to do this but you can do it with a small paring knife. It doesn’t take but a few minutes but it will make a world of difference in the final product and something that will be more enjoyable.

Once you have done this place the cleaned livers into another plate or bowl and add a little flour. Toss them to create a glue, then add some more flour to the bottom of a bowl/plate and add all of the livers to the bowl and cover with more flour. Make sure this is a generous amount to coat completely. Once you have done this place them in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set the flour breading to the liver.

After the required time, toss them in a little more flour and shake off excess. Fry them in either vegetable oil or a light colored olive oil with a higher smoking point. Sauté the livers until no more blood is visible and the juice runs clear, turning them over as you need to until you accomplish this. Then add the lemon juice and allow the liquid to evaporate and continue tossing. Lastly add the dried oregano toss everything together.

Once they are finished put them on a clean plate. You can serve these just the way they are with a little vinaigrette dressing for dipping, or if you choose to use any or all of the optional ingredients simply toss everything together with the livers. You may want to toss the vegetables together with some vinaigrette and serve the livers on top…perfectly fine to do…either way they are simply delicious.

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