Transport your guests to Spain with this deliciously savory spin on “Higadillos Salteados” served as a tapa atop slices of baguette.
Spain is famous for serving tapas at many establishments, from Sevilla to Barcelona. What constitutes Spanish tapas varies from region to region, but generally, it refers to a small portion of food.
Want to learn more about Spanish tapas? Check out this article in the Telegraph titled “The History and Origins of Spanish Tapas.”
Furthermore, Spaniards are well known for their ability to work with animal organs and transform them into something absolutely crave-worthy. From the thighs and breasts to the neck and organs, they celebrate all animal parts utilizing various cooking techniques, herbs, and spices. “Higadillos Salteados” is a traditional dish cooked in Spain, composed of chicken livers sauteéd in sherry and olive oil. Typically smoked paprika and crisped pancetta are also features of this dish.
Our variation is intentionally simplified in ingredients to celebrate the beauty of the liver. The liver is rich in taste, texture, and nutrients. Instead of masking it, we highlight it with the addition of caramelized onions and jammy peppers. Spoon this mixture over slices of baguette and garnish with ground pepper, flat-leaf parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Julienning the Vegetables
The onions and peppers must be cut into julienne strips. Julienne strips are approximately 1/8 of an inch or 3 millimeters in width. Julienning the vegetables is important, as it allows them to caramelize and cook evenly. Still not sure how to achieve it? Check out this video.
Caramelizing the Onions - Slow and Low
For this dish, you will need to lightly caramelize the onions before adding the peppers. Caramelization occurs when the onions are cooked at a very low temperature and the natural sugars in the onions slowly draw out.
The key to caramelization is “slow and low.” In other words, cook the onions at a very low temperature over time. If you use a cast-iron skillet, it may only take 30-40 minutes at a low temperature to achieve a light caramelization. However, if you use a non-stick pan, the time may increase to 50-60 minutes.
If it takes longer to cook, do not increase the temperature; just wait. Keep the temperature of the stovetop at medium-low heat. Time is the key to achieve ideal caramelization. If you increase the heat, the moisture in the onions may draw out too quickly, causing them to burn before they develop that sweet onion jam flavor. Patience is key.
What Does Cooked Liver Look Like?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the internal temperature of all chicken parts should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 73 degrees Celsius. However, the appearance of doneness differs between chicken livers and other chicken parts.
When fully cooked, chicken thighs and breasts must appear white throughout while the juices run clear. Chicken livers, on the other hand, should not appear bloody or raw but may appear slightly pink in the center when fully cooked.
Overcooked chicken livers can be rubbery and texturally displeasing, so it is important not to overcook them.
Reheating and Storage
Once you have finished making the dish, the leftovers may be refrigerated and consumed for up to 3 to 4 days. When reheating, spoon the mixture into a saucepan on the stovetop at medium-low heat. Warning: do not use the microwave. If you use the microwave, you will end up with exploding liver pieces decorating your microwave walls.
This dish is best paired with a red wine that contains spicy notes so that the clove and nutmeg flavors are further pronounced in the dish.
Visit your local liquor store and request a bottle featuring these characteristics to find the perfect pair.
- Color: red
- Notes: red bell pepper, cedar, clove, spices, tobacco, leather
- Geography: old world
- Structure: medium body and acidity
Love your Leftovers
You just finished devouring this dish and you are left with the following ingredients:
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/2 red pepper
- 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
- 2 tablespoons chives
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
Follow the steps below to make a simple yet tasty frittata:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Dice green and red peppers and finely chop 1 onion or 2 shallots.
- Crack 12 eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk 1 teaspoon of salt, ground pepper, tarragon leaves, chives, and parsley.
- Place a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop at medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of high heat oil such as grapeseed oil. Add onions and peppers. Cook until soft.
- Pour egg mixture into the pan, and ensure it is evenly distributed. Allow the eggs to cook for 3 minutes on the stovetop.
- Transfer to the oven for 18-20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.
Peel and Cut Vegetables
- Peel the onion and cut it into julienne strips. Set aside.
- Peel garlic cloves and finely chop. Wash red and green peppers and remove their seeds. Slice green and red pepper halves into julienne strips. Set aside.
- Finely chop flat-leaf parsley and chives. Tear off tarragon leaves. Set aside.
Clean and Chop Chicken Livers
- Clean and dry chicken livers.
- Cut into 1.5-inch or 3.8-centimeter pieces. Set aside at room temperature.
Lightly Caramelize the Onions and Add Peppers
- Place a non-stick pan or cast-iron skillet on the stovetop at medium-low heat.
- Add olive oil and onions.
- Cook onions until lightly browned (for approximately 30-40 minutes in a cast-iron skillet or 50-60 minutes in a non-stick pan).
- Once the onions are lightly browned, add green and red peppers. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until soft.
Add Chicken Livers
- Add chicken liver pieces and cook for 5 minutes.
Season with Herbs, Spices, and White Wine
- Sprinkle in chopped chives.
- Season with salt, ground pepper, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves.
- Pour white wine into the pan.
- Turn the stovetop to low heat and cook for 15 minutes, to cook off the alcohol.
- Slice baguette into 1.5-inch slices.
- Spoon over baguette slices and garnish with ground pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, tarragon leaves, and chopped flat-leaf parsley.
- Serve and enjoy!