One of the many ways to serve chopped liver
Ahhh, chopped liver. Not for everyone’s palate, to be sure, but if you’re among those who like it, the good news is that it’s far simpler to make than you might think.
My chopped liver memories go back to my early teens. I’d smell the chicken livers sautéing in our Long Island kitchen and would beg mom to help. I’d seen her use what I thought was the coolest kitchen contraption I’d ever seen: a meat grinder. This was a go-to tool in many old-time Jewish kitchens, because it was the preferred way (remember, we weren’t spoiled with food processors yet) to grind everything from chicken livers to beef and lamb.
The food that fed the family
After days of chopping and peeling and cooking and freezing, Thanksgiving finally arrived, and all the preparations gave way to thawing and warming and roasting and serving. As our family was coming in during the day, the appetizers made their entrance, just the ticket to keep everyone sufficiently satiated until dinner. The onion dip with cracked pepper was heated to almost bubbly, we took the chill off the eggplant and white bean puree, and the creamy herb dip punched up raw veggies.
Federal Donuts on Sansom Street in Center City Philadelphia
In the spirit of disclosure, I’d like to say that I really try to eat well – fruits, veggies, portion control and all that – but sometimes I fall off the wagon.
Friday was one of those days. It started as every morning does for me. A multigrain English muffin with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter. So far, so good. My son, Dan, and I drove to Philadelphia to do a couple of things, and we finished up around lunchtime. We were getting hungry, and I remembered a perfect lunch spot for something utterly different and fun.
I just love chicken. Mostly because there are so many ways to cook it. But also because it defrosts relatively quickly, especially if you’re like me and have forgotten to thaw it before leaving the house in the morning.
When I want something easy to get into the oven relatively fast, roasted chicken does the trick. When I’ve got more time to prep, I grind chicken thighs in a food processor (or if you’re lucky enough to have a meat grinder, that would work beautifully) for chicken “meatballs,” or marinate chicken breasts and drumsticks in yogurt and spices, bread it with panko, and bake. But when I’m looking for a versatile lunch, I go for this chicken salad that I can’t stop making.
This recipe came together after chatting with one of the chefs I work with at Sur la Table. The class she just finished teaching included a recipe for wasabi mayo and suggested that it’d be great to use for chicken salad. I take no credit; the idea was all hers. Here’s how I put it all together.