This Week's Review: Hearts on Fire!

Categories: 'Eat'
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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My Voice Nation Help

Anticuchos made with beef hearts at Peruvian restaurants is one of my favorites. Tastes better, it's cheaper, and it existed long before trendy restaurants who charge an arm and a leg, decided that it was a cool ingredient to use.

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