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simple local vegetables

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Thursday, 23 September 2010

In the name..C'est dans le nom.... In namen veritas....

 Often detested, OFFAL is not AWFUL at all, in fact - rather delicious, if you cook it correctly.
Oft verhöhnt, "Innereien" haben es tatsächlich "Innen" wenn mann weist wie Mann es vorbereiten soll!
Souvent détestées, les abats ne sont pas "a battre" - si on sait comment les préparer...!

 Yes - rarely expensive, maybe apart from the specials Lamb or Calf liver,
"offal" (general collective name for just about everything We don't know to put elsewhere!) is generally not liked, or at least is not amongst our most favourite preparations.
This could have something to do with the fact that the very appearance of the items concerned, recalls to us that We are carnivorous, that some poor animal, somewhere, has left it's life on the doorstep - for our pleasure, and that often makes us feel uncomfortable.
Even more reason to know how to prepare these dishes, so no wastage, or as little as possible, occurs to this offering/sacrifice.
Firstly, think about the prices. For a material that provides almost ALL the necessary nourishment for humans, and often for our "animals of compagny" the price is exceptionally low.
Even the humble tripe....  is not at all what its name suggests. Prepared correctly, it is a delight, and I suspect that the reason we don't see it on Restaurant Menus (or rarely see it) is because the people concerned don't know how to do it. It is a long job, yes, but done correctly, the speciality Restaurants, all over the world are always full...! Must prove something. "Tripe and Onions"... By God..what a treat...!
Apart from the well known dishes, some of which, together with some tips, you can find further down the page, WHO can forget some of those absolute specialities.
France and Germany have literally thousands, Italy also has quite a number, and in general they are known and prepared, Worldwide.
Terrines - Pâtés, Leberwurst, in thousands of varieties and in thousands of forms of service. Impossible to be unaware of them!
Since all beasts (the human one included) have "innards" it is theoretically possible to prepare all of these things from any source! The main one for us is our distantly-related cousin - Le porc, the Pig, Das Schwein... (sometimes not so distantly-related!)
Our problem is that we have a sort of "love/hate" relationship with this animal, who resembles us so much.
It's skin is what we use for severe burns, to "skin graft" and to my knowledge there is NOT ONE part of the animal that doesn't have a use, somewhere or other in our lives, apart (possibly) from the faeces produced - rather like the human being, although in the latter, there are many more "bits and pieces" which are unusable!
And yet - we insult it, take its name in vain,  slaughter it,  eat it, use bits of it for "make us look beautiful" cosmetics, for soap, even for antiseptics and medecines!
But...please don't let it LOOK like what it really is - at least, not on our plates!
Hence the common aversion to offal!
Think about that favourite - "Liver & Onions".... probably the WORST prepared dish in cooking history! The British, naturally, add a certain National product to it - Bacon......!    No matter what it is served with, it is generally cooked for so long that it is quite tasteless, powdery and crumbly in the mouth.
Liver - of any type, should be eaten "rose".
I recall in my days as a Civilian Instructor in the British Army, always being presented by "upcoming future Army Chefs" who always told me they could not stand liver.
I always did the same thing with them - I made them eat a small piece of the liver in question, rapidly sealed in oil or butter - just half a minute on each side - still rose on the inside, tender and delicious. They loved it, and from then on, it became usually one of their favourites.
Unfortunately, Army regulations stated that we had to finish it off in the traditional manner - braised in the oven for hours! It then became what they didn't like - inedible!
Try it yourselves - you won't recognize it.
The reason for this long, slow massacring of liver and other offals, goes back to older days, when offal products did not have the protection of chilling in fridges and so on, therefore - as a product which "turns" very quickly, it had to be cooked for a long time for "safety" reasons.
Of course, once again, the Cavemen had it better - they ate it raw! 
The subject is so vast that it is not possible to go into details here, all I can suggest is that you look at the traditional recipes, for ALL offals, and use them, but cut the cooking time by at least half, if not more.
I love my liver, floured and barely sealed on both sides. When you see small patches of blood on the top of the flour, turn it and do the same again on the other side, then - out of the pan - onto the plate, and YUM-YUM....!
At sometime in the future I'll do another article on the subject, dealing with the "exotiques" - like trotters, brains, stomach, tongue - and all the others. Often very time consuming, but always delicious.
If you have an "abattoir" or a "slaughterhouse" near you, try to find out what day of the week offal is delivered to your butcher, the fresher the better, not from health issues, but from TASTE!
In all cases.....ENJOY.......
Even the Russians do....


  iwmpop(mrlemarquis)     -     Vauvert, France     -     Septembre 2010

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