Elk Liver... 'n Onions?

So, it’s hunting season in the Pacific Northwest, which means my co-workers begin the annual tradition of filling my refrigerator with things I’d never even thought to eat before.

This week, I have been bequeathed a large piece of an elk calf’s liver.

I’ve been given several tips on how not to over cook the liver (it cooks very quickly apparently), including cooking it in bacon fat, which I find intriguing.

The truth of the matter, however, is that I’ve never before had liver. When I think of liver, I immediately think of the dish “liver and onions”. And while I enjoy onions as a flavorful addition to a dish, I’m not so sure I’d enjoy them as half of the meal.

Are there alternatives to the plain old “liver and onions”?

Do you have any recipes or recommendations about how best to prepare liver you’d like to share?

And what’s this talk about soaking the liver in a brine?

I’ve never made Elk liver, but here’s a recipe I found at: http://www.wwrendezvous.com/cookbook2/viewrecipes.php?category=%20Venison%20-%20Deer,%20Elk,%20Moose

12 oz elk liver cut into ¼ inch slices
All purpose flour
1 ½ Tbs. butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ cup beef broth
1 ½ Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. chopped parsley

Cooking Instructions:
Shake liver in paper bag with salt, pepper and flour to coat. Saute unitl crisp in melted butter over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Add garlic to skillet and simmer about 30 seconds. Add broth and vinegar and simmer 1 minute, stirring in browned bits of breading. Salt and pepper to taste and pour over liver, sprinkle with parsley. Serve with pasta with herbed tomato sauce and steamed baby zucchini.

Elk or beef liver, I’ve never bothered to brine. Just rinse it well. Antelope liver is too nasty to bother, and venison & moose need rinsed, brined, and rerinsed. It’s tastes “off” if you don’t.

Onions flavor the meat. I won’t eat the onions, but I don’t like liver cooked without onions either. It only takes about a half a small onion, sliced & seperated into rings per good sized liver. Rinse, slice, dredge in flour, fry over medium high flame in olive oil or bacon grease for a couple minutes, turn, dump on onions, cover for a couple more minutes, put onions in a bowl, liver on a small platter, make SO brush teeth before kissing goodnight. Use black pepper and ketchup if you want – liver gravy is almost as icky as onions, IMO.

That’s the only way I make liver (and heart) anymore, so I can’t help you with other recipes.

My MIL puts dried parsley, cayenne and garlic poder in the flour before dredging. I think that makes the liver a little bitter, but you might want to try it.

Oh, BTW, peas and whomp-biscuits must accompany Liver and Onions. It’s a rule. One needn’t eat the peas or biscuits, but they must be present to make the meal complete.

I heard it can taste pretty good with some fava beans and a nice chianti.