Introduction: The Offal Truth
How To Get Friends And Enemies To Eat Things They Normally Wouldn't Touch!
What's better than tricking someone you love, hate, or who owes you money into eating a mouthful of something that they think is something else? Nothing, that's what! Nothing gives that warm and fuzzy feeling like watching someone unwittingly munch on innards and tell you how much they really enjoy it.
Step 1: The Heart of the Matter
That's right. That's a pun. Get over it. The picture? That's a beef heart. The scalpel? Don't you judge me.
When people think of offal---and those are rare moments indeed---they think of the taste of overcooked liver. A bitter and grainy experience that is at once coppery and irony (ferrous I mean, not the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning) . . . you know, it's a gross experience. Liver can be a wonderful thing in the hands of someone that cares, but for the majority of people out there they just don't know. And they associate everything that doesn't look like a steak or ground chuck with that awful liver experience that happened in their early adolescence.
Heart is a good first step on the road to reclaiming the tasty delicacies that we call guts. Why? It's a meat pump. And it's leaner than that ribeye you have every time you go out to eat at a restaurant. LOADS of B12 in heart and high levels of coenzyme Q10 if you think that actually does something for you. And a 4oz portion will give you less cholesterol and saturated fat than a similar sized portion of ribeye. So why waste it. Eat it! Or trick someone else into doing it.
Step 2: Cardio
Do your cardio work and burn that fat . . . or slice it away with your serial killer gloves on.
Step 3: Heart of the Matter
I got this heart when I got a half a cow from a local abattoir. Some folks calls it a slaughterhouse (like Kurt Vonnegut), I calls it an abattoir. Some local cow grower has benefited from my purchase. I think that's cool.
You're not going to ever get a pristine heart from a butcher or abattoir. They have to inspect it to make sure the cow didn't have heartworms. You don't want to eat those. So the heart will be sliced open to reveal the chamber and general anatomy inside---valves, connective tissue, etc.
Examine your heart before turning it into dinner. Though it's just a meat pump (IT DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH LOVE) it's a meat pump that beats continually for years. Science is cool. And so is food. Cut into it.
Step 4: Break Your Heart in Two . . . or Preferably More.
It's easier to remove the connective tissue if you first break the meat down into smaller pieces. You'll want to remove the connective tissue for two reasons. One reason is that it could become tough the way we'll be cooking this, and two, you don't want to give away to your friends and enemies that this might not be a flatiron or sirloin steak, which the texture isn't that dissimilar to.
Step 5: The Slabs
As you section out the heart you should slip off that outer layer of smooth tissue. I suggest using a #60 scalpel. But you could you a fish fillet knife or sharp slicer in the odd chance that you don't have a scalpel lying around.
Step 6: Dirty, Herby Work
Beef heart doesn't have a taste any different than any other cut of beef. It tastes beefy. Liver has it's own taste, but heart is just beef. You could add fat and grind it into hamburger and no one would be able to tell the difference . . . hmmm . . . heart sliders. Interesting.
Here I'm going to go a little Italian and give it some rosemary, thyme, and garlic. You could take it to southeast Asia and go with garlic and ginger and call this a satay too.
Dice up your herbs. Dice up your garlic. Salt it. Pepper it. Add a little olive oil. Put your heart into it! And let it sit a while. A few hours. I let this sit in the fridge overnight.
Step 7: Heart Burn
Well . . . hopefully not. Burned anything is bad. Except bread if you're talking euphemistically like the old bluesman Bo Carter did. But that has nothing to do with cooking.
Preheat your grill (or grill pan or broiler). Throw that meat on. Grill it medium or medium rare. Anymore than that and you'll have shoe leather. And that isn't cool.
Step 8: Heart on a Platter
That's it. Pull it off the grill and throw it on a plate. Here I have a basil tomato cream sauce under it. If you went the beef satay way you'd use a peanut sauce or maybe a cilantro chutney. Eat them as they are. Make tacos with them. Chase your loved ones around the house with the flaming skewers.
Try not to snicker and giggle as your friends eat these or they'll know that something is up. Play it cool. Don't tell them what they ate until months later. Bring it up really slyly.
You: "What do you think about heart?"
Them: "Eww, gross!"
You: "I know for a fact that you've had it before and really liked it."
A long pause and a dawning recognition.
Them: "You're a real @$$hole."
You smile and nod know you've done right by giving your heart to them.