What Am I, Chopped Liver?

Always the bridesmaid, chopped liver is an under appreciated dish. I’m not Jewish, and didn’t grow up eating it, yet it’s something I crave deeply. A decade ago I spent a few years running a couple of kosher kitchens. Unfamiliar to me at the time, it’s something that I’ve grown to love.
At it’s core, it seems like a simple dish. You caramelized some onions, sauté some chicken livers and hard boil some eggs, then chop them up and mix them together. But something magical seems to happen when you mix those ingredients together.
For me, the best chopped liver comes from Russ & Daughters in NYC. I could eat a pint in one sitting. So, I was thrilled to find their recipe in their book. Over the weekend I made their version exactly as written. Then, as you might expect, I started tinkering.
Always a sucker for crispy fat, I had to throw some gribenes (chicken skin cracklings) on top. Next up was cold-smoking. I did a simple 5 minute apple wood smoking in a hotel pan. The liver really took on a nice, mellow smoked flavor that deepened as it sat in the fridge.
But I really wanted to reimagine the dish. Thinking of traditional Jewish deli cuisine I landed at the everything bagel. The end result was “Everything” Crusted Chopped Liver Fritters with Spicy, Shmaltz Infused Duke’s (Mayo). The dish was good, even if it suffered a bit from my own impatience. I’ll be making some minor adjustments soon. Stay tuned.

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