Liver and Spring Onions with Crispy Shallots and Potato Puree

Chef Todd Richards gives us a spin on the classic dish liver and onions with this recipe from his recent cookbook, Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes. He says that livers usually come frozen, which he prefers over thawed. "Freezing and thawing leaches impurities for cleaner flavor," he explains. "The mild potato puree works as a delicious textural counterpoint to the onions and a creamy vehicle for enjoyment of the complex pan jus."

Liver and Spring Onions with Crispy Shallots and Potato Puree
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey
4 serves


Potato Puree

  • 8 cups water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 thyme sprig

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled (about 3 3⁄4 pounds)

  • 8 ounces high-quality unsalted butter, cubed and softened

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Crispy Shallots

  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced into rings

  • 1/3 cup whole buttermilk

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated onion

  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coffee

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups blended olive oil

Liver and Spring Onions

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • 2 (8-ounce) calf's livers (about 3⁄4-inch thick)

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons blended olive oil

  • 4 spring onion bulbs (about 5 ounces)

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine

  • 1 thyme sprig

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated onion

  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coffee

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Prepare the Potato Puree: Bring 8 cups water, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil in a stockpot over high heat. Add the potatoes, making sure they are covered with water. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 20 to 25 minutes.

  2. Remove the potatoes from the water, and reserve the liquid. Process the potatoes with a food mill into a medium bowl until smooth.

  3. Stir in the butter, cream, pepper, 1⁄4 cup of the cooking liquid, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt into the potatoes. Stir in additional cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

  4. Prepare the Crispy Shallots: Combine the shallots and buttermilk in a small bowl and let stand 30 minutes.

  5. Stir together the flour, salt, granulated onion, granulated garlic, black pepper, curry powder, coffee, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

  6. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan or skillet over medium-high.

  7. Drain the shallots, and toss in the flour mixture to coat, shaking off any excess.

  8. Fry the shallot rings in the hot oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the fried shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  9. Prepare the Liver and Spring Onions: Combine the calf's livers and buttermilk in a bowl and let stand at least 30 minutes.

  10. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high.

  11. Season the spring onion bulbs with 1⁄2 teaspoon each of the salt and black pepper. Place the bulbs, cut sides down, in the pan. Sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the onions over, and continue to cook until browned, about 2 minutes.

  12. Add the chicken stock, white wine, and thyme to the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the spring onions are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

  13. Meanwhile, combine the flour, granulated onion and garlic, curry powder, ground coffee, cayenne, and remaining salt and black pepper in a shallow dish.

  14. Heat the remaining 1 1⁄2 cups oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high.

  15. Remove the livers from the buttermilk. Dredge in the seasoned flour. Shake off excess and fry until crispy and browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. (Do not overcook.)

  16. Serve the liver with the spring onions, Potato Puree, and Crispy Shallots.

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