Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Pan-fried Liver with Caramelised Onions and Garlic Mustard-Mashed Cauliflower

This is a classic liver-and-onion recipe, but--slight twist-- with a bit of a balsamic vinegar sharpness, and a much lighter cauliflower mash instead of potato, to balance out the richness of the dish.

The most important thing to remember when cooking liver is: DO NOT OVERCOOK. You either quickly sear it on high heat, or slowly braise it over low heat. For this recipe, I'm quickly frying the slices of liver, then topping it off with sweet caramelised onions.

Pan-fried Liver with Caramelised Onions
serves 2
100g lamb's liver (big slices about 1-2 cm thick, trimmed of the membrane, or a friendly butcher should do it for you)
a little bit of plain flour (just to coat, 1/2 a tbsp should be enough)
sea salt, black pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp of olive oil + 1 tsp butter

For the caramelised onions
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp of olive oil/ butter
1 tsp dijon mustard
splash of balsamic vinegar
black pepper (I like to be generous with this)

1. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat, add the onions to the pan (hot enough such that they sizzle but don't sputter), season with black pepper, then cook until the onions are golden-brown, stirring quite often. Add the mustard and balsamic vinegar, and let it reduce till almost dry. Whole process should take around 20 min.
2. While the onions cook, prep the liver! Season the flour lightly with the salt and pepper. Season the liver too, then coat with the flour.
3. Heat olive oil over high heat in a pan. Add the liver slices and fry till browned and cooked, about 1 min on both sides (but it really depends on thickness and pan etc. just make sure the inside is still slightly pink and the outside is nicely seared). Add that little dab of butter to help caramelise and add flavour.
4. Place liver slices on a plate and scoop the onions and any residual gravy over. Enjoy with cauliflower mash (and deep fried sage leaves if you can)!

Garlic and Mustard- Mashed Cauliflower
serves 2-3
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp unsalted butter
sea salt (to taste), (generous) pinch of black pepper

1. Fry the chopped garlic till lightly browned. (browning the garlic first makes all the difference!)
2. Add the cauliflower florets and enough water to cover the base of the sauce pan, then cover and cook for about 10 min till soft and till water is gone.
3. Remove from heat, but do not let the cauliflower cool! While it's still warm, mash the cauliflower and garlic till smooth.
4. Add the mustard, butter, salt and black pepper and combine well.

I sometimes add homemade cream cheese/parmesan instead of mustard, or chopped chives/spring onion/any other herbs. It's very flexible! This is a great alternative to mashed potatoes if you feel like having something lighter.

Anyway, here are some closing tips for anyone still scared of trying offal because of "that smell":
1. You can soak your liver in a bowl of milk in the fridge until you're ready to cook, then remove and pat dry.
2. Get fresh liver, from the butcher or farmer. Those in the supermarket are usually old, and I admit, does stink.

For people new to liver, these are the main types of liver:
Chicken liver - small, tender, quick-cooking, least strong flavour
Lamb's liver - tender, quick-cooking, mild flavour
Calves' liver - tender, quick-coking, good flavour (I've not tried this, but my butcher tells me it's got fantastic flavour. He also very kindly told me it's quite a bit more expensive than lamb.)
Pig's liver - slower cooking, good strong flavour
Goose liver - for the lucky 5% of the population who can afford it.


    might I add that the cauliflower mash is a first for me?

    BUT now I know I can have a more fibrous and healthier alternative the next time I'm craving mash!! which I have not eaten in at least a year. haha.

    Oh but I did try one thing tho, sweet potato mash instead. I'm not sure if the GI of sweet potatoes are lower than that of potatoes... can't remember. But yeah, I always hold back on the butter, milk, cream, or cheese when I make my mash usually...

    ok now I really have a craving for some cauliflower mash in the middle of work haha.


  2. I love cauliflower mash (: but try not to skip the butter if you aren't adding cheese, because that's what makes it BOOMZ, plus butter (grassfed) is full of vitamins a and d!

  3. I tried this and it was excellent! I didn't do the Cauli because I decided to have liver and onions on toast for breakfast, I added a chopped slice of bacon to flavour the pan first!