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Fried Chicken Liver, Bacon and Tomato Salad
© Anna Williams

Fried Chicken Liver, Bacon and Tomato Salad with Ranch Dressing

  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

This carnivore's salad is filled with bold ingredients like bacon and pickled onion, but the star ingredient is chicken livers. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo soak the livers in buttermilk and coat them in flour, then repeat the process for extra-crispy results. "I'm into livers of all kinds now," says Dotolo, "especially duck and lamb."

Pickled Red Onion

  1. 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar

Ranch Dressing

  1. 1/4 cup sour cream
  2. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. 3/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  6. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  7. 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  8. 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  9. 1 small garlic clove, minced
  10. 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
  11. 1/2 teaspoon snipped chives
  12. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad

  1. 6 slices of thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon (6 ounces)
  2. 3 cups self-rising flour (see Note)
  3. 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  4. 2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  5. 2 teaspoons onion powder
  6. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and rinsed
  9. 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  10. Vegetable oil, for frying
  11. 3/4 pound heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  12. 1/2 cup whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
  13. 4 tender celery ribs, thinly sliced on the bias, leaves reserved
  1. Put the sliced red onion in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the red wine vinegar with the sugar over moderately high heat until just beginning to simmer and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot vinegar over the sliced red onion and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons of the onion pickling liquid.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 10 minutes; drain on paper towels. Cut each piece of bacon in half.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  5. In a medium bowl, soak the chicken livers in 1 cup of the buttermilk for 10 minutes, then drain. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk to the bowl. Dredge the chicken livers in the seasoned flour until coated, then redip the chicken livers in the buttermilk and dredge again in the flour to double-coat.
  6. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil to 325°. Fry the livers until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the chicken livers on paper towels and immediately season with salt.
  7. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes, parsley and celery ribs and leaves. Add the pickled onion and the reserved 1 1/2 teaspoons of pickling liquid. Spoon the ranch dressing onto plates. Top with the tomato salad, chicken livers and bacon and serve at once.
Notes You can buy self-rising flour or make it yourself: Combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

Suggested Pairing

Earthy chicken livers, smoky bacon and creamy ranch dressing make this one salad that can easily stand up to a red wine. Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, is light-bodied but full of flavor, and an ideal choice.

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