Chicken Livers Gremolata

You know how, every now and then, the Universe smiles down at you and turns a dull day into a dazzling one?

A few years ago when I was still living in London, just about all I had planned one Saturday was to pick up some dry-cleaning and de-worm the cats. Then an old friend called – a food freak who could barely remember what day of the week it was but who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of London restaurants. You could say to him: I’m looking for somewhere that’s busy yet discreet, stays open late, serves Thai-Brazilian fusion cuisine and is decorated in muted yet warm colours, and he’d stop whatever he was doing, the computer would whirr around inside his head, then he’d snap his fingers and proudly announce the perfect restaurant for the occasion.

A strange talent but one I exploited to the full.

They weren't.
They weren't.

Anyway, this friend called (we’ll get to the recipe bit in a minute) with a problem. He had to go to Bibendum, one of London’s most heavenly restaurants, to deliver a bottle of champagne to the owner, as you do. But he couldn’t possibly turn up at lunchtime without actually staying for lunch, now, could he, so was I up for the challenge?

Was I ever. Never mind the dry-cleaning or the cats’ worms, I was in the shower and spruced up before you could say ‘I wonder if Posh’n’Becks will be at the next table?’

For my starter, I chose Chicken Livers Gremolata, and they just about blew my mind. Tender pieces of chicken liver gently sautéd in olive oil, fresh parsley, lemon zest and garlic, tossed in ribbons of pappardelle. You know, I have no recollection of what I ate next, which has probably more to do with all the Kir Royales I necked back rather than the quality of the cooking, but I’ve subsequently turned to this dish again and again.

In fact, I made it just the other day for a couple of girlfriends. One isn’t eating wheat at the moment, so instead of pasta, I served it on some ‘interesting grain’ not unlike brown rice. On top of that I placed some spinach into which I’d sliced some sun-dried tomatoes.

While my apartment isn’t quite Bibendum and is most certainly bereft of celebrities, it was still pretty good.

Some gratings of lemon zest or  parsley on top would have looked nice.
Some gratings of lemon zest or parsley on top would have looked nice.

To serve two, you will need:

A pot of chicken livers (350 g / 12 oz)

Olive oil

The juice and zest of 1 – 2 lemons

Fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Salt & pepper

My measurements, as you may have noticed, tend to be approximate, and I use a lovely French mix of frozen ‘Persillade’, which is parsley and garlic mixed together. While I dare say the chefs at Bibendum are madly accurate, I’m afraid I'm not.

All you do is gently fry the chicken livers in some olive oil, into which you then add the other ingredients. I prefer my garlic uncooked, so I don’t rush to put it in. Stir for no more than five minutes but whatever you do, DON’T overcook them! The livers should be pink inside.

Serve either with pasta ribbons (but don’t add cheese) or try a funny grain, like I did.

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