A dish whose sweet, mild spiciness should convert even non-offal eaters
Lamb’s liver is not to everyone’s liking, but this recipe is as good a converter of non-offal eaters as I have ever found. I have taken inspiration from my old governor, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The sweet, mild spiciness makes the whole thing utterly unctuous and moreish. The flatbreads and yoghurt seem like natural bedfellows, but cous cous and aubergine also work well. If you have the time, it is best to marinate the liver for a few hours, but if not, don’t worry—everything will be just fine.
For the liver:
5g coriander seeds
5g fennel seeds
5g cumin seeds
50ml light olive oil or rapeseed oil
1g chilli flakes
2g nigella seeds
5g smoked paprika
300g super-fresh lamb’s liver, thinly sliced
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thickly sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ bunch chopped mint
¼ bunch chopped coriander
For the flatbreads:
250g plain white flour (wholemeal if you prefer)
110ml cold water
20ml good olive oil
For the garlic yoghurt:
150g good whole yoghurt
1 clove of garlic, very finely grated
A pinch of turmeric powder
Toast the whole spices, excluding the nigella seeds, in a dry frying pan until the aroma awakens. Grind in a spice grinder, but do not grind to dust—save some texture.
Place the sliced liver, onions and garlic in a bowl and add the oil, ground spices, chilli, paprika, nigella seeds and salt. Mix to lightly coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Place a solid frying pan onto the heat. It doesn’t need to be smoking hot but must have enough energy within it to not dip in temperature too much once cooking starts.
In batches to avoid overcrowding, toss the liver briefly in the pan then leave to cook for a minute or so before tossing again. Make sure that all the liver slices are sealed up by using tongs to manoeuvre reluctant pieces into place. Once the liver has firmed up slightly, remove to a warm plate. Leave any bits of raw onion behind in the pan and give them a minute to catch up. Sprinkle the rested liver with lemon juice, mint and coriander.
Mix all the bread ingredients together to make a light dough—do not work it too much. Rest, well covered, for a few minutes before separating into squash ball-sized lumps. Roll out until you can just start to see your hand through them.
One at a time, drop the flat breads into a very hot, dry pan, allowing them to change colour, smoke and puff up a little, then turn. This takes around 1 min per side. Pile up on another warm plate ready for eating.
Mix the yoghurt ingredients together and leave for 5 mins. To serve, I like to let everyone help themselves. Many will want extra chilli flakes, harissa paste or crunchy salad leaves.
Recipe: Tim Maddams