Calves Liver with Orange and Dubonnet

FOIE DE VEAU AU DUBONNET...Nico Ladenis' wonderful recipe for calves liver. Also a good chance to use your microplane grater. Dubonnet is available in the bigger liquor stores, and in this recipe I don't think there is a reasonable substitute. And if you get a bottle it makes a wonderful aperitif, lightly chilled.  Serves 2.

2 x 6 oz. slices calves liver about 1/2-inch thick
1 tsp. finely grated orange rind
1 tsp. lemon rind, very finely grated
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 1/2 oz. butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
8 Tbsp. Dubonnet (red)
2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. flour
Salt and pepper

Sprinkle the flour on a pastry board and season with salt and pepper. Turn the liver in this mixture.
In a heavy pan melt 2 oz of the butter, add the olive oil and carefully fry the shallots and garlic until soft and transparent (do not allow them to colour or crisp up). Slightly increase the heat and add the liver and fry till cooked (see comment below), taking care not to burn the shallots/garlic. When cooked remove the liver and keep warm.

Add the orange juice and Dubonnet to the pan and reduce, stirring well. Add the rinds and remaining butter then sprinkle the parsley over.
Put the liver on the plates and pour the sauce over.

Comment: This recipe depends entirely on cooking the liver correctly - if it is overcooked it loses all its delicacy and subtlety, and the point of paying a hefty premium price for calves liver is lost. Thus when you remove the liver from the pan to keep it warm it must be slightly undercooked as it will continue to cook slightly whilst you prepare the sauce. The object is to get the liver pink inside - treat it as if it were a fillet steak (and if you don't like liver "rare" then there is no point in using this recipe). For this reason it is difficult to cook this dish for more than two because, for a meat that may take less than 2 minutes to cook, 10 seconds can be critical and it would take that long to remove 4 pieces from the pan. Having said that it can be done, just exercise extreme care. This is an excellent quick dish for a romantic "diner a deux" served with new potatoes and carrot purée or fresh green beans.

Recommended wine: A full-bodied red such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Source of recipe: Nico Ladenis via Ashley