Eating Nose to Tail

While flipping through the Escoffier cookbook looking for culinary insight I came across a recipe for a simple omelette filled with kidneys.  Being the sort of person who keeps a few lamb kidneys in the freezer for just this sort of occasion, one was immediately placed in the fridge to defrost.

Gently fried kidneys, nestled inside a fluffy egg omelette.  I cannot recommend this dish enough, the kidneys are meaty and a little crisp from a dusting of flour and a quick sear in a pan and the eggs are soft and fluffy.  A piece of toast, a cup of tea and you are well on your way to starting your day in a wonderful frame of mind.
Lamb kidney omelette.
Lamb Kidney Omelette

Makes a one person omelette

-1 lamb kidney
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter, divided
- 2 eggs, beaten
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- finely chopped parsley, optional

Clean lamb kidney by removing fat and interior sinew, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Season flour with salt and pepper and toss kidneys in seasoned flour.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium high heat, once foam has subsided add kidneys and cook tossing often until all sides have browned, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and reserve.

Wipe out pan, return to heat and add remaining butter.  When foam subsides add eggs.  Once eggs have begun to set add kidneys (and parsley if you're using it) to one side of the omelette.  When eggs are set to your liking fold omelette in half and serve immediately with tea and toast.
During the Halloween season nose to tail eating gets a few choice moments in the sun.  Food TV seems to trot out heads, tongues and trotters at the same time as they whip out the cotton cob webs and witch hats.  Eating all the less desired bits of animals conjures something sinister in many minds, as if there is something unnatural about happily munching on pig tails, chicken feet and liver.

For the last year I've been writing a couple recipe columns for SeriousEats, and in honour of Halloween I thought I'd post a few links to the more nose to tail inspired posts that the benevolent Editors in SE headquarters have let me sneak through.
Some bloody, tasty chicken insides.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween, filled with many delicious, scary meals.
My local big box store stocks some good stuff, and I've been eyeing some good looking beef heart for the past few weeks.  Yesterday I took the plunge and bought a pound and change of beef heart.
Beef heart.
After trimming the fat and silver skin I sliced it into about a 1/2-1/4 inch thick pieces and placed it in a marinade.
Marinading beef heart.
My beef heart pieces sat overnight in olive oil, garlic and chili paste.  The next afternoon I took a few pieces out of the marinade, heated a pan with some oil and seared the heart until just cooked through.  Absolutely delicious.

Beef heart is very lean, and does very well with quick hot cooking.  Grilling beef heat over hot coals or even wood is a very classic South American way of preparing it, and would be a great way of cooking this dish.

The pound-and-change of meat I bought turned out to be quite a bit of food, and I've eaten it two different ways so fat today (yes, yes, I know).  Seared and over a lightly dressed salad, and in a perfect little sandwich made with 7 Grain bread and greens.  Up next for my beef heart - tacos.
Just for good measure I'm going to include the recipe.  I've been doing a bit of recipe writing over at SeriousEats, so I thought I'd try out a real simple one over here at ENT.

Garlic Chili Beef Heart

Serves 2 (main) or 4 (appetizer)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (like sambal, or even sriracha)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef heart (trimmed of fat and silver skin)
  • olive oil (for searing)
Combine mashed garlic, garlic & chili paste and olive oil and mix well.  Pour over trimmed beef heart and mix until all the meat is covered with the marinade.  Let sit overnight (or two nights).

Heat a good drizzle of olive oil over high heat, until oil is shimmering.  Place strips of beef heart in heated pan in an even layer.  Do not crowd the pan or you wont get the desired sear.  Cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until just cooked through, another 2 minutes. 

Serve very hot in a sandwich, on a salad, or in a taco.  Beer would be very good with this as well.