I was a weird kid. Aside from roller skating to the library (in blue-and-yellow sneaker skates and an orange terrycloth bathrobe worn over jeans) and forcing my brother to play “Library” with me, I also distinctly remember voluntarily ordering beef liver with onions for dinner at my dad’s diner. I was also a crazy for chicken liver paté on toast and ordered it whenever it appeared on a menu.
Then I became a surly teenager and was sent to Weight Watchers summer camp where they forced us to eat liver once a week as part of the weight-loss plan. The culinary skills of the cooks at camp didn’t stand up to my dad’s line cooks, and I developed an aversion to liver that lasted for years. But now, after sampling some luscious charcuterie plates and eating our legendary dinner at Animal last summer, I’m falling in love with chicken livers again. For the first time, I experimented with coconut flour as a “breading,” and it worked great — especially when seasoned with aromatic spices and lightly pan-fried in coconut oil to form a lovely, crisp crust. This is a recipe I developed for my awesome gig this month as Featured Chef at US Wellness Meats; check out my Q&A on the U.S. Wellness Meats site.
I know you might not be all that keen on chicken livers, but if you’re the least bit curious or amenable to trying them, I recommend this recipe as a good gateway dish. The spices add just a little zing to complement the rich flavor of the livers, and let’s be honest: just about everything tastes great fried in a little dino-chow-friendly fat.
Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers
Prep 10 min | Cook 15 min | Serves 2-4
1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken livers (US Wellness sells lovely free range.)
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2-4 tablespoons coconut oil
garnish: fresh lemon and chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, or mint)
Cut chicken livers into 2-inch pieces and pat dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix flour, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cloves with a fork until blended. Pour the seasoned flour into a large ziplock bag, add the chicken livers, and shake gently until coated evenly.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high until hot, about 3 minutes. Add about half the chicken livers in a single layer — try to arrange them so they don’t touch. Allow the bottom to brown well and form a crisp crust, about 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the livers, and brown the other side. Set aside to drain on paper towels while you cook the second batch. You may need to add more coconut oil to the pan.
Place the livers on a serving plate and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs.
These taste their crispy best if you eat them immediately, but since I’m the only person in the house who likes chicken livers, I had a lot to eat as leftovers. They were really tasty re-heated, just not as crisp. I had them three days in a row for breakfast, with a side of leafy greens sautéed with chunks of roasted butternut squash. It was luscious and kept me energized all morning.
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