Truly offal news

October 1, 2009

Raw liver

I’m not a big organ meat fan. Other than fatty foie gras I could easily go the rest of my life without eating it again.

I tried to become a fan. When I was in chef school we learned how to prepare kidneys in classic recipes and I did my best to learn to like them. Same with heart and tripe, both which I’ve tried to cook myself and ordered at good restaurants to make sure I’d given the nasty bits the chance they deserve.

I can’t say all of my organ experiments have been negative. On the positive side, I can say that on occasion I’ve eaten fantastic calf’s liver, wonderful sweetbreads, and even tasty lamb brain but I don’t go out of my way to find or avoid any of them. (Except kidneys. They are still just a rubbery waste of time in my opinion and I would avoid them if necessary.) And, other nasty bits don’t bother me at all. I’ve had great pigs trotters and I really like properly made headcheese.

Despite my personal ambivalence, in cities such as San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal and London, eating offal and spare parts from common meat animals (beef, pork, chicken) is becoming quite chic. Tripe churros at Toronto’s Black Hoof; pig trotters in onion-mustard sauce at Montréal’s Au Peid du Cochon and flash-grilled beef tongue with yuzu salad and miso at San Francisco’s Yoshi are swooned over by many.

What’s your opinion on spare parts and offal: awful or wonderful?

PS: the picture above is a lamb’s liver.