Fried Chicken Livers: Durant's Steakhouse

Despite what the supermarket aisle may lead you to believe, there's more to an animal than neatly wrapped styrofoam trays of meat. From tongue to tail, offal (pronounced awful) encompasses all those taboo edibles that don't make the cut at your local grocer. Just Offal is here to explore these oft-neglected byproducts of butchering, featuring different offal meals from establishments across the valley.

This week: Chicken Livers served up by Durant's.The Ick Factor: Liver is an evil meat to anyone who encountered this meal-time ultimatum: "You can't leave the table until you finish your meat!" Despite many a valiant effort to vaporize that livery mass with the power of your mind, there's no escaping the table until you pinch your nose and choke it down.

If any place in the Valley could erase our liver-y childhood trauma, Durant's would lead the pack. Leave it to the old school charm of this Valley institution to dress up those formerly intimidating livers as a swanky appetizer. A martini at the ready doesn't hurt things, either.

(bite into all the juicy details after the jump)

The Offal Choice: The sautéed chicken liver appetizer from Durant's, which surprised us by coming out battered and deep-fried. Ask for a side of the aioli that usually accompanies Durant's Debris, if you want a perfect dipping sauce for the liver bits.

Tastes Just Like: Liver tastes like liver. If you have not had liver, it's a hard flavor to explain. Chicken, beef or otherwise, liver is meaty, musky and often accompanied by a vague metallic tang. Unsurprising considering the liver gets stuck with the job of filtering the blood day in, day out.

While the flavor of chicken livers is mild and musky, the texture is often what ends up turning folks off. Chicken livers are soft and a bit crumbly, similar to the odd powdery texture that beef liver can have. Although deep-frying the livers adds a pleasant contrast and crunch to the otherwise soft livers.

You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: You chicken livers crumble into a mealy powder upon first bite, and appear an unappetizing gray color. At this stage you've overcooked those chicken livers to the point where even the family dog would turn up his nose in disgust.

Always been a DIY-er? You're in luck, because frozen chicken livers are available at just about any grocer in the Valley. Unfortunately, freezer burned chicken livers generally end up tasting like hot garbage. Fresher is better, so make sure to examine that "use by" date. Then whip up some Southern deep-fried chicken livers.

Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Erica O'Neil