I grew up in Thailand so eating innards is nothing new to me. I love liver, intestine, stomach, tripe, pig ears, blood...you name it (though brain will be on the bottom of my list), These are considered to be delicacies in Thailand where these innards are impeccably fresh and cooked by a pro! I particularly love the soup that has a melange of all kinds of innards flavored with lemongrass, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, and chili peppers. Yes, it's spicy hot, sour, salty and delicious. Because of the lemongrass, you can enjoy different textures and rich flavor without the gaminess or mineral taste often associated with innards.
It's a different story here in the U.S, I even shy away from eating the mundane liver! First of all, freshness is the problem, as well as a lack of "eating innards" culture here. Nonetheless, I am very happy to see that now many high end restaurants are trying to feature nose to tail cuisine. Hopefully it will change some peoples' minds about eating innards.
I am so honored to be invited to join the Offalicious Inc. group. I love all kinds of challenges. I mean culinary challenges :). Now I have to hone my skills cooking all kinds of innards. I have my reputation to protect so have to come up with something good with whatever is available here for our inaugural Offalicious dinner tonight. I am also happy to be with adventurous like-minded foodies.
I believe that when eating innards, they have to come from reputable sources. I prefer them to come from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals. These need to be pre-ordered but I don't have enough time for it this time around. I went to Asian Grocery Store and found some duck gizzards, duck necks, and pork tongues. I want to confit them so I need a few days to accomplish that. The fat I use is grass fed beef tallow since I am just fresh out of duck fat. This tells me that I need to get a couple of ducks to replenish my duck fat reserve!
I marinated my "future dinner" overnight and then sous vide them in grass fed tallow for 12 hours at 58 C. Everything came out flavorful and tender, ready to be crowned with equally flavorful sauces.
If you know me, I do not cook with recipes. I collect cookbooks and love to look at them occasionally. When I cook, I don't want to be bothered and hindered by measuring cups and spoons. They are cumbersome. I have my palate to do that for me. Taste as you go. Evaluate what is missing and fix it. Someone comes up with a recipes but you can also come up with your own. Learn from mistakes so don't be afraid of making them. I actually enjoy mistakes. I often come up with something even better! And I feel so satisfied when that happens. Remember, practice makes perfect!
I am so glad to be exposed to many cuisines. I have so many weapons in my arsenal to enhance food. I am particularly grateful to have Thai food in my blood. I think it's one of the great cuisines where flavors and textures are always highlighted and balanced. Food should never be boring and bombard you with monotonous flavor and texture. I can eat three bites and I am done. Haha. It might be good for my diet but it's no fun. Food should be exciting, adventurous journey for flavors and textures where one can experience oohs and aahs.
Gizzard has strong flavor so the sauce has to be flavorful to stand up to it. It is much like pairing food with wine. I decided to glaze it with homemade chili sauce, spicy and sweet. But it still lacked something. I grabbed my bottle of Szechwan peppercorn oil and drizzled a little bit over it. Voila, now I had a well balanced sauce that can handle gizzard flavor. I sprinkled roasted rice powder over for added texture.
It is also a good idea to relieve your palate from a plateful of gizzards. I mingled the gizzards with tiny potatoes my husband dug out of our garden yesterday. The potatoes were confit first and tossed with the gizzards when I did the glaze. Soft, creamy potatoes pair well with meaty gizzards. I also made pickled carrots to give another bright acidic crunch!