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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.