Making Plans for Nigel

my latest crush

Last week I finally bought a copy of Nigel Slater’s “Real Fast Food,” and I have to say I fell immediately in love with it. I love the fact that it’s compact enough to fit in my (admittedly large) purse so I can peruse it on the subway, and I love the fact that it’s less a collection of “recipes” and more a collection of really fantastic ideas on how to put together ingredients to get something quick and delicious on the table. Life has been hectic lately, and I’ve begun to feel like I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut, but reading this book has been rejuvenating.

Mike, too, has become a big fan of this book, and when he spotted this recipe for Kidneys Cooked with Sherry, he asked me to work it into our meal plan sooner rather than later. I put some fingerlings on to boil when I got home from work last night and then left the kitchen to my husband. As promised, the dish came together quickly and with a minimal amount of fuss, and it was just delicious. Now, if you’re not a fan of organ meats, the texture and rich flavor of the kidneys might be a bit of a challenge, but I found them to be much more mellow than, say, chicken livers, and the sweetness of the onions and sherry provided a lovely contrast.

Dinner:  February 20, 2008

Kidneys Cooked with Sherry
(for 2, with mashed potatoes)
From Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater

8 lamb kidneys, halved and cores removed*
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 wineglass of dry sherry (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Drop the kidneys into the lemon juice and mix well. Leave for at least 10 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly over a medium heat. Turn the heat up to boil away any liquid. Drain the kidneys, dry them on a paper towel, and add them to the pan. Brown the kidneys on all sides, then stir in the flour and add the sherry with an equal amount of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the parsley, taste, and season with salt and pepper.

*The package of kidneys we picked up over the weekend was a little over half a pound and contained 4 kidneys. We felt like we had enough to satisfy us, but we would have liked more so next time around we’ll be sure to buy two packages.

8 thoughts on “Making Plans for Nigel

  1. And if our Nigel says it’s tasty, it must be tasty… 😀

    That said [er, sung?] I’m not sure kidneys would be the first recipe I’d try. But it does look delicious.

  2. Nice one! The world needs more XTC lyrics!

    Anyway, despite a fondness for Joyce, (“Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.”) and XTC, I have not yet bonded with kidneys as a food source. I think, after reading the above passage from “Ulysees,” I did once experiment with them, but it was very early on in my cooking life did not go at all well.

    The recipe does sound good, though. Perhaps the next time the missus is out of town, as she had a traumatic experience with kidneys in her youth.

  3. I haven’t had lamb kidneys since I was young and my mother was cooking each meal that Julia Child did on The French Chef. She presented my father with a plate of Julia’s Lamb Kidneys, Dad looked at us all and said, take a bite…we did and the next thing I knew we were in the car on the way to the Belle Meade Motel for their fried chicken. I’d be willing to try them again. Maybe.

  4. oooooh, I *heart* Nigel. He’s my cooking god. When things go wrong I feel like he’s sitting on my shoulder telling me it’s all going to be alright. I don’t have this book though, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. I’m not sure I’d love kidneys in sherry, but I think I know someone who would. I’ll have to show this to him 😉

  5. Jennifer Hess says:

    Anita – Ha! Sorry if I got the song stuck in your head (that goes for the rest of you, too).

    claudia – I really think you’d like this. If you can get your hands on some good kidneys, give it a try!

    erik – A bit of an obvious choice of title, but I’m glad you appreciated it!

    Mary – Oh no! I know it can be hard to overcome those first bad experiences with certain foods.

    Su-Lin – I do not but I’m going to try to get my hands on everything he’s written. I have a major crush. 🙂

    ann – That’s so awesome – Nigel as kitchen angel!

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