Growing up, fried liver was a standout on the rotation of dishes my mother would make for my siblings and me. As I got older, I realized that many people — especially kids — found liver to be weird or off-putting. My classmates would say it was gross, but that never made a difference to me because I thought there was nothing more delicious.
It is a classic Southern dish typically served pan-fried with sautéed onions and grits. Many people would say that liver is an acquired taste, but there are so many ways to prepare it to elevate its flavor.
As a true mama’s boy, I love my liver the way my mom used to make it: floured and fried until crispy with brown onion gravy on a bed of warm white rice. I was always by my mother’s side when she was cooking. I never had a chance to ask her how she got all her cooking knowledge, but she was amazing in the kitchen. I remember my mother soaking the liver in buttermilk, which would be seasoned to perfection, always with some adobo or Sazón thrown in there (it was our version of kitchen pepper).
When it comes to liver, it's important to season and soak it to help mellow out the strong metallic flavor of the mineral-rich organ. After letting it soak for a while, my mother would coat it in flour, which was seasoned with a generous amount of black pepper and deep-fry it until it was crispy and crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I have six siblings and — I kid you not — after we finished one plate, we would always line up to get another serving.
When I re-created this recipe as an adult and smelled that familiar aroma of fried liver, it took me right back home — back to when I was 10, feeling my mother’s love through the food she made for us. I developed this recipe based off what she used to make, only changing the gravy to make it a bit more herbaceous. The beauty of this dish is that you can change it up however you see fit, and at about $2 a pound, it is very low stakes to experiment with. Even if liver doesn't have that nostalgia factor for you, it's still worth trying — and you might just find yourself lining up for a second helping, too.