In our post On Time – For Once, my hubby promised that the soon to be world famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen would make liver and onions in honor of his brother Tim’s birthday. He even went out on a limb (as he often does) and committed the entire staff of the SFH Test Kitchen to attempt to master Sauté of Calf’s Liver with Onions from Julia Child’s book The Way to Cook.
My hotshot husband figured that we in the kitchen staff would all jump to the opportunity because we had watched Julia make the dish on a video. He said Julia made it look easy. Surely, we could pull it off. But, when hubby says we, he usually means me.
So, after putting us all on the spot and setting us up for a potential major failure, he left the kitchen for the solitude of his office. – Mr. Monte and I were just a little miffed. Well, no, actually we were a lot miffed; no, in reality, we were more than a lot miffed; the more we thought about it, we were miffed to the max.
Mr. Monte beat me to saying what was on my mind. “Old Fuzz Face deserves some of his own medicine. You can count me out of kitchen duty tonight, Blondie. If he thinks it’s so easy, let that sucker cook the liver himself.” – And with Mr. Monte’s words now a matter of record, he walked out of the kitchen and took a nap.
Time passed, eventually hubby came down the stairs with his camera, expecting to take pictures of Mr. Monte and me cooking the liver. As he entered the kitchen, a puzzled look crossed his face – some ingredients were on the counter, but the SFH Test Kitchen staff was nowhere to be seen. – After about a minute of standing there with that look on his face, I came into the kitchen and informed Mr. Smugness that he’d better start cooking if he wanted supper.
Rather uncharacteristically, he just shrugged, got out the frying pan and necessary utensils and started cooking. He put himself on autopilot and went into Julia-mode. Homemade butter was tossed into the pan with some olive oil – he was humming to himself about the joys of butter as he was sautéing the onions.
Once the onions were out of the pan, more butter was deftly tossed into the pan. He sniffed and savored the aroma as the butter melted – that “sucker” was having fun – the nerve of him – he was having fun.
I broke down in my resolve; I had to join him because I couldn’t beat him. I helped him dredge the liver slices in the flour. Then, I watched as he fit five slices neatly into the pan, even though I had just told him they wouldn’t fit. He had a self-satisfied smirk on his face – he was still having fun.
The only time he broke stride was when he thought that we didn’t have the right vermouth. Even then, he wasn’t stymied or deterred. A light went on in his memory and within a moment, while the liver was cooking, he made a mad dash to the pantry; noisily moved about fifty items; and then came running back to kitchen with the proper vermouth.
The onions were poured over the liver and the vermouth was poured over everything. He covered the pan and leaned back and waited for the magic to happen. I waited too.
In minutes, we were at the table, praying grace, and toasting Tim on his birthday. Then came the first bite. No, magic had not happened in that frying pan. Instead, a miracle had happened. That smug hotshot, that wonderful husband of mine, had just made the most delicious liver and onions I had ever tasted, the most delicious liver and onions we had ever tasted.
Maybe it was the local grass fed, grass finished beef liver. Maybe it was Julia’s recipe. Maybe it was because Mr. Monte and I made the right decision in forcing hubby to take the challenge of cooking the meal himself.
Here are the ingredients;
Saute of Calf’s Liver with Onions – – Serves 4
2 Tb butter
2 tsp oil
2½ to 3 cups sliced onions (we used red onions)
4 slices calf’s liver, ⅜ inch thick (about 1 lb.) (we used grass fed/grass finished beef liver)
Freshly ground pepper
Flour for dredging
¼ cup dry white vermouth or chicken stock,
You can find the video set of The Way to Cook on Amazon here. And if you click on the link to the video go to section 209 at the 16 minute and 33 second mark to see how Julia does it.