Calves’ liver

Calves’ liver isn’t cheap, in fact it is probably around the same price per kilo as fillet steak, but there is a reason for this. The reason is simple; it is a delicious but rare cut of offal.

Because it isn’t cheap, it deserves respect when you cook it. The best way is to do as little as possible and, most importantly, don’t overcook it.

I like it coated in some seasoned flour and simply fried in a pan, in foaming butter, for about two or three minutes per side, maximum. You want it cooked through, but still with some pinkness inside. Then, put the liver to one side to keep warm and deglaze the pan to make a simple sauce. You can use white or red wine, sherry, Madeira or Marsala or even some dry vermouth (Noilly Prat is excellent for this) but I like the sauce to have an edge, so I use lemon juice most of the time. The sharpness of the lemon juice cuts through the undeniable richness of the liver itself.

This deserves good wine, and I think that red Burgundy is an excellent choice. We had a bottle of 2011 Rully with this, a classic Pinot Noir with a lot of life in it and just the right amount of that lovely farmyardy quality to match the flavoursome but melting calves’ liver.


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