About Beth

Beth
Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene
Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah
Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug
Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy
Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi
Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan
Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry
Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma
Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim
Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Breaded Calf's Liver | Main | Sauteed Chicken Livers with Sage and White Wine »

Grilled Pork Liver Wrapped in Caul

As Doug explained in the Tuesday post, we traded days this week. He found it impossible to find caul in his neck of the woods, and I do love a challenge. As it turns out, it wasn't any challenge at all. I just needed to make an appointment to pick it up on butchering day. You're going to have to bear with me, I got a little carried away with my story.

May I introduce a bag of fresh caul - so fresh it was still warm from the hogs body when I took this photo. May I also introduce you to the Schuberts. Schubert's Packing Company is across the Mississippi from St. Louis in the historic German town of Millstadt, Illinois. They've won so many awards for their German sausages, they were invited to Germany to demonstrate how they made them. Larry Schubert is pretty good at growing a mustache too, don't you think?

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My pork liver and a bag of fresh jowl needed for next weeks recipe were already in the case waiting. So while Irene and I were waiting for the caul, I took a picture.

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When I got home with my treasures, I rinsed and soaked the liver in several changes of water. This is the first time I've worked with pork liver. I expected it to be a darker color, but it was a nice light pinkish -- and very meaty. I had enough for this recipe with plenty left over for future use. While some others here have expressed a distaste for liver, I must admit that I love it. I love fried chicken livers, I love liver and onions, I love liverwurst, I love liver pate, I love...well you get the idea.

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Next step was to rinse the caul and remove the larger rope-like sections. I ordered several extra pounds, so while rinsing and cleaning it, I packaged up the excess in a series of 1/2 pound packages for the freezer. I've got some goat shanks I want to do a slow braise with next week, I'm thinking that wrapping them in caul could be very interesting. By the way -- don't you just love the beautiful lacy appearance?

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The liver should be cut into 1 x 2 x 3 inch pieces; sprinkled with salt and pepper; wrapped (along with a bay leaf) in a 5 x 7 inch piece of caul; and secured with a large toothpick. It should then be grilled over hot coals for a few minutes on each side. Here is what my grill looked like yesterday.

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I really didn't want to face having to get the snow and ice off the grill cover. Plus, I told myself it wasn't good for the grill to fire it up in 14 degree weather, anyway. So, I wimped out and kind of cheated. I set a grill/griddle on high flame on my range. Heated it up good and then "grilled" the liver indoors.

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I think after seeing how beautiful it turned out, Marcella will forgive me for wimping out. Some nice roasted root vegetables seemed like good companions for the dish. I had sweet potatoes and beets, so that's what I roasted. We also had a fresh green salad and some Spanish red wine.

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The caul did it's job, slowly basting the liver in flavorful fat. The result was a very moist and still slightly pink liver. No shoe leather tasting of blood, iron, or bile here. Just a tender, almost creamy texture with a sweet slightly mineral tang.

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Comments (9)

jane:

A very interesting read but....don't think I will be trying this one. Thanks for the pictures! I had always wondered what caul looked like. Now I know.

Deborah responds:
Awe come-on, Jane. You believe in living on the edge. Try it!

Ray Anne:

Beautifully photographed and exquisitely written. But liver in caul? Not any time soon....I'm such a baby.

Irene:

My feelings for liver aside, I loved our visit to the butcher shop. It is so nice to see fresh meat and talk directly to the butcher. Being able to get cuts that are probably tossed in the trash in pursuit of culinary excellence is such a thrill.

Deborah responds:
So, Irene....did you use that beautiful skirt steak yet?

Deborah, you are an amazingly resourceful woman. Brava!

Will you be using the caul fat to render lard?

Deborah responds: No, Susie, although I well remember you telling me how easy it is. But, Schuberts sells fresh rendered lard for pennies, so I'll just buy it from them.

David:

Wow. A true believer. Talk about a window into the past.

Deborah responds:
Oddly enough, David, in my mixed up animal rights priorities, the one liver I draw the line on is foie gras. Can't wrap my head around how those birds are treated.

Marcella Hazan:

Well-told, artfully photographed, and perfectly cooked! A-plus Deborah. I am bewildered by the comments of those who recoil from this dish. When I consider all the fawning over Ferran's rubegoldbergian culinary exploits, I am saddened that one of the most delicious and simplest and economical meat preparations out of any cuisine suffers such neglect. A restaurant with any vision could make its reputation with such a dish. This is what cooking is about, forget all the food magazine stuff. Is there any way, Deborah, that I could reach the Schuberts and arrange for packets of caul to be shipped to me? How are their sausages?

@Susie L: You must be able to get caul by the ton to render it into lard. It is too precious and hard to get for me to contemplate doing it, when I can easily buy all the good cooking lard I want.


Deborah responds: Thank you for the A+, Marcella. That raises my grade point average. :grin:
The sausages in the cases were beautiful. They have uncounted variety. I asked about sweet sausage without spices. The closest they do is a sausage that sounds much like your recipe only with a dash of nutmeg added. Not sure why they add the nutmeg. Might be a German thing. I think they would be happy to ship the caul. They have a special liver sausage that they ship all over the country - so they're used to shipping. I'm going next week to pick up my beef roasts for Christmas Dinner. I'll talk to them about it.

Doug:

Deborah,

Bravissimo!

saundra sillaway:

used to buy liver in the veil on ninth avenue in nyc in the pork stores. the caul keeps the liver together and melts away on the grill. those who were wealthy used veal liver..
have never seen it in texas .

angelo donofrio:

no where in the area of bloomfield n.j., either never heard of caul, or sells it, where in the vicinity of bloomfield n.j. does someone sell it or can get it for resale.

Deborah responds:

Angelo, I'm in Missouri, so I can't speak to a specific place in NJ. However, if you can get out into the countryside and find a farmer who raises (and butchers his own) hogs, you could perhaps ask if you could buy the caul when he butchers.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 15, 2010 6:31 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Breaded Calf's Liver.

The next post in this blog is Sauteed Chicken Livers with Sage and White Wine.

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