In recent years, nose to tail eating has been embraced by celebrity chefs and gourmands, but it’s hardly a new idea. Eating an entire animal, not just the prime cuts of meat, is seen by many as a way to respect the animal that has been butchered, not to mention it’s darn practical. “Waste not, want not” is something many grandmothers preached long before terms like “sustainability” were being thrown around. Speaking of grandmothers….for many of us, the savory aroma of liver frying in a pan brings us right back to her kitchen. If your grandmother was like most, liver was either fried up with onions or chopped up with hard boiled eggs. It was not done up Cajun-style and served over a bed of greens, but we’re thinking if it was, we just might have eaten more of it.
Cajun Blackened Chicken Livers with Lemon and Garlic is the first offal recipe for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook, and for those of you a little hesitant to venture into the world of offal, this is a safe and delicious place to start. Nicola Aylin’s easy and richly flavorful recipe combines an array of spices with chicken liver and fresh greens doused in lemon, garlic and butter. As far as liver goes, chicken liver is quite mild and has a smooth texture. The spicy seasoning blend sprinkled on top dominates the dish and gives the liver a crispy coating that contrasts with the smooth, rich middle. Laying the liver on a bed of salad greens lightens up the dish and makes Cajun Blackened Chicken Livers with Lemon and Garlic the perfect summer lunch or dinner.
Liver is possibly the animal organ eaten most often in the U.S., as it’s easily found in grocery stores, takes little time to prepare and is very affordable. Most people who buy liver might not even realize they’re picking up an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Liver contains vitamin A and several B vitamins, is a source of folic acid, iron and copper and contains CoQ10 for cardiovascular function.
It doesn’t get much better than that and an offal recipe doesn’t get much easier than Nicola’s tasty Cajun chicken livers, a recipe that proves eating offal isn’t so awful after all.
1 pound chicken livers
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
6 cups spinach leaves, lettuce leaves or half a head iceburg lettuce, shredded
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Trim chicken livers, discarding connective tissue and separating larger livers into two lobes.
To make Cajun seasoning, mix together paprika, cayenne, garlic and onion powders, black and white peppers, thyme, oregano and salt.
Add livers to the seasoning mixture and toss to coat then brush livers with either melted butter or olive oil.
Choose your cooking method:
a) Preheat broiler to highest setting. Place liver on a rimmed baking sheet and on top rack in oven, broil under high heat. Turn once, until blackened on outside and centre of thickest part is pink, about 8 minutes.
b) Place chicken livers in a cast iron pan pre-heated to medium and cook on both sides, about 2-3 mins per side.
Place hot chicken livers on lettuce or spinach. Combine dressing ingredients in a hot pan until garlic is very lightly browned, then drizzle over livers and greens as a warm dressing.