French,  Nutritional information,  Savoury

Liver in balsamic vinegar sauce, and victory for restaurant-goers

Liver in balsamic vinegar sauce

I saw a picture in British newspaper that said everything about France, and in particular, Bordeaux. It was of a couple sitting outside on a restaurant terrace in the centre of Bordeaux (the Place de la Victoire, as it happens). They were calmly eating their dinner, and drinking their obligatory red wine, while rioters and demonstrators caused visible commotion in the background. There was even a ‘fire of wrath’ burning close-by.

The photo reminded me of the time, many years ago, that we had a lunch booking at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Auxerre. It was before GPS and, as we didn’t have a map, we had to stop and ask a policeman for directions to the restaurant. The time was approaching 1pm and the policeman, panicked at the idea that we were going to be late for our table, not only directed us to the restaurant, he also held up the traffic flow in both directions to allow us to do a U-turn! The French have always had their priorities straight.

Liver health benefits

Liver should be organic, preferably, and very fresh. It will be improved greatly by being soaked in lemon juice for several hours before cooking. This improves the texture, and draws out any impurities. Liver is an extremely high-quality source of protein, as it provides all of the essential amino acids. In addition it provides:

  • Vitamin B12, which helps the formation of red blood cells and is also involved in healthy brain function.
  • Vitamin A, which is important for normal vision, immune function and reproduction.
  • Riboflavin (B2), which is important for cellular development and function, and helps turn food into energy.
  • Folate (B9) which is an essential nutrient that plays a role in cell growth and the formation of DNA.
  • Iron, an essential nutrient that helps carry oxygen around the body. The iron in liver is heme iron, the kind most easily absorbed by the body.
  • Copper, which activates a number of enzymes, which then help regulate energy production, iron metabolism and brain function.
  • Choline, which is important for brain development and liver function.

Recipe for liver in balsamic vinegar sauce (serves 4)

  • 4 slices liver (I used calves liver)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 shallots, finely chopped
  • Sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Marinate the liver slices in lemon juice for several hours. Pat the slices dry and dust lightly with cornflour. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and gently brown the sliced shallots. Remove the fried shallots and set aside. Add the liver to the frying pan and cook on a fairly high heat, several minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the slices. Season and then add balsamic vinegar, bring to the boil, return the shallots to the pan and serve immediately!

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