I had to prep myself before I tasted each dish today. Why? Because we were eating liver and onions at 11 a.m. And I’ve never had liver—and I sure didn’t want to eat it after watching Chef clean the organ.
We got a calf’s liver, and the thing is massive for being from the body of a baby cow. It took up two cutting boards, and it reminded me of a blubbery jellyfish that was hard to manipulate. Chef showed us how to clean it: Basically pull off the skin-like membrane. It makes a disturbing velcro-like sound and the action of pulling it off reminds me of peeling sunburned skin off my arm. Hungry yet? My station partner described the flavor best: Chalky. The mineral aftertaste has a chalky residue that just lingers after you swallow. I’m just glad I didn’t grow up in the generation that had to take cod liver oil.
Next up was tongue. And it’s repulsing to handle. It actually tastes better than it looks because it’s not an organ and doesn’t have any funky aftertaste. But it’s hard, slimy, gray, and rough-skinned–not exactly the image of appetizing. More fun to play with. But don’t say that to these people.
In my opinion, sweetbreads were the only tasty dish of the day (other than the polenta that was served as a side dish to it). We coated them in bread crumbs and then pan-fried them. They kind of reminded me of soft-shell crabs, but much softer.
After class, a few of us all realized that we weren’t hungry, which isn’t normal. And Chef warned us that organ meat is heavy and you can only eat a little at a time. So much for that theory. My tab for today was tongue, liver, and sweetbreads. (We didn’t receive our order of kidney for the day…thank God.)
TIP OF THE DAY: If you’re going to eat organ meat, make sure it’s extremely fresh.