Fancy Fried Chicken Livers

I love chicken livers as much as I love oysters and frying them highlights all the best qualities of the common  grocery store staple, and this quick recipe will make you want to cook them regularly because they are so economical. Really, you can season the eggs and flour however you want, just be bold. Sometimes I use Thai Sweet Chile Sauce, and the hotter the sauce the better—the liver can stand up to it. I like to eat them immediately after frying, when the crunchy exterior gives way to a still-juicy center.

Salt is mandatory plus more hot sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon for lift. Fried chicken livers can be seasoned to almost any taste. You can swap the Old Bay for a combination of roasted sesame seeds and Korean red pepper flakes. Or try sprinkling them with crushed peanuts with a side of fish sauce and lime dressing and shredded cabbage.

Once cooked, fried chicken livers last in the fridge for up to two days, during which time you could simply snack on them cold with a dab of mustard. My favorite way to use leftovers is chopped in a hearty salad of arugula, ranch dressing, and roasted sweet potato, or you can tuck them into a roll with a spicy slaw and some sliced pickles.

Fried Chicken Livers

Photo Credit: TASTE, 2018

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pint container of chicken livers
1 egg
¼ cup hot sauce, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
vegetable, oil for frying
McCormick’s OLD BAY® Seasoning
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:
Rinse livers in cold water and pat dry with paper towels before trimming them of visible sinew, fat, and areas of green discoloration. Separate large connected lobes, but otherwise try keep the pieces as big as possible.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork until blended, then add hot sauce and mustard. Gently drop the livers in the egg wash and toss to coat. Let them marinate for up to 10 minutes while you prepare the breading.

To make the breading, mix the flour, cornmeal, and the remaining spices in a shallow pan or plate so you can spread the mixture out. Lay the livers on the seasoned flour and let them sit on one side for at least 2 minutes so the coating bonds well to the egg. Gently turn them over and repeat on the other side.

Heat half an inch of oil in a cast-iron or carbon steel pan. Fry the livers until dark golden brown before flipping, which takes about 2 or 3 minutes depending on the size of the piece. 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to let them go longer than 5 minutes to insure a  perfectly pink interior, which is what you want. This is how you harness the elegant pâté qualities that are waiting to be unlocked, so keep an eye on the smaller pieces. When the livers are solidly golden brown on both sides, they are done on the inside, Be careful when cooking livers, the liver releases a lot of juice while frying on the first side. I like to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes and then sprinkle a pinch of the dredging flour on the top to absorb the moisture and prevent splattering. Flip the livers and continue to cook until they are uniformly brown, another minute to 2 minutes.

Drain on paper towels. Once the livers are fried, you would be almost negligent not to consider another layer of flavor for the exterior, so lightly dust generously with Old Bay. Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.

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Snoop Dogg’s Potato Chip Fried Chicken

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The batter for this crispy, golden fried chicken wings from rapper and culinary star (have you seen the tv cooking show “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” ?), Snoop Dogg, has a secret ingredient: potato chips. Use any type of  potato chips you like—sour cream and onion, jalapeño, or salt and vinegar would all work well.  Snoop was partial to using BBQ chips in the show with Martha. To really get that BBQ chip flavor in the final result, though, don’t be afraid to add a bit more chips to the coating than the recipe calls for. The recipe also called for the use of cornmeal in the batter. Personally, I would leave out the cornmeal because it makes the batter to grainy. A few other adjustments were made as well, like using a cut up whole fryer chicken instead of wings. I also used plain potato chips. To be perfectly honest. I prefer my Grand’s recipe for fried chicken, where she would brine the bird in buttermilk over night in the refrigerator, making for a juicer and more tender chicken.

I would give this recipe a B- overall. The corn meal, as I mentioned before, really doesn’t work in this recipe. The chicken was tasty, by the coating doesn’t adhere very will to the chicken, even after air drying 30 minutes prior to frying.

The recipe below is featured in: “Snoop Dogg’s Fried Chicken Is Game-Changing & You Should Make it Right Now.” From the book, From Crook to Cook by Snoop Dogg, Chronicle Books, 2018.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
For the brine:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Peel of 1 orange

For the chicken:
4 pounds chicken wings
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup crushed potato chips
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
2 cups buttermilk
1 quart canola oil

Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions:
For the brine:
Fill a large pot with 5 cups of water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the sugar, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and orange peel. Cook, stirring, until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Place the chicken in a large bowl and cover completely with the cooled brine. Cover and refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours, and up to 24 hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Set the chicken aside and discard the brine.

For the chicken:
To batter the chicken: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, crushed potato chips, garlic powder, cayenne, baking powder, black pepper, and salt until combined. Transfer to a large shallow dish. Place another large shallow dish next to the flour mixture and add the buttermilk to it. Place a wire rack or pan next to the two dishes; this will be where you set your battered chicken.

Take one wing and submerge it in the buttermilk. Lift and let any excess drip back into the dish. Roll the wing in the flour mixture, coating it completely. Place the battered chicken wing on the wire rack or pan and repeat with the remaining wings.

Let the wings dry for 20 to 30 minutes before frying.

To fry the chicken: In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the canola oil to 350°F. Place a wire rack over a plate or line a pan with brown paper and set aside.

Working in batches, carefully add the chicken wings to the hot oil, careful not to crowd, otherwise they’ll become greasy. Once the chicken is added, the oil’s temperature will drop to between 300°F to 320°F. Watch and adjust the heat to maintain a consistent 350°F temperature.

Fry the wings for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. If the chicken is getting too dark, lower the heat. Once the chicken is done, remove each piece with tongs and transfer to the prepared rack or pan to drain. Sprinkle generously with salt.

Let the oil come back to temperature before adding the next batch; repeat with the remaining chicken.

Serve the wings with plenty of hot sauce (if using) or over buttermilk waffles, hot or cold, however you like them.

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