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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This Week's Review: Hearts on Fire!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 11:58 AM

  • Caitlin Kuhwald

Making heart the subject of my Valentine's Day review may be a stunt, but eating heart meat isn't. Whether it comes from a chicken, duck, pig, lamb, or cow, heart is an amazing cut: smooth and yet not slippery-gushy, lean and robust. Heart meat readily takes to fire, smoke, chiles, but can also be prepared with great delicacy.

I can't remember a time when heart wasn't a prize, a special treat. When she served chicken soup, my mother, who is far from offal-friendly, would always add the giblets to the pot. Then she would claim the heart for herself, just has she had since she was a child. I remember poking around my soup bowl, looking for a heart to give her, though sometimes the grape-sized chunk of meat never made it across the table.

I wasn't the only kid, it seems, who found out he loved heart. When I asked Alembic's chef, Ted Fleury, about how customers responded to his jerk duck hearts, he told me, "My old chef, Vernon, brought his 5-year-old in here one time, and he loved them. Now the only thing he eats is cereal and duck hearts."

Although I didn't love his restaurant's take on tuna-heart pasta, Incanto's Chris Cosentino remains for me the king of hearts. Here he is, demonstrating how to clean and cook a beef heart:

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Jonathan Kauffman


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