That's right - Heart! Another offal nutritional superstar, heart is rich in iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorous, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and zinc. You can check out heart's nutritional information here. Handling and cleaning the actual muscle was interesting - more like theater than cooking! I really wanted to stage a shoot of me pretending to rip the pig heart out of Scrapple's chest, Indiana Jones style, but then decided it might be best to wait until AFTER we were legally married to broach the subject of acting out strange mock ritual reenactments. Maybe next time?
When contemplating how to make the tastiest first attempt at cooking this noble muscle, we asked the dudes behind the butchers counter at The Meat Hook for their advice. The general consensus was "It's nasty - marinate it, grill it, do whatever you can to hide the stink!". Apparently beef heart is much tastier and easier to cook. Educated but undaunted, I looked up some recipes (that involved marinating) and started to hash out a meal with what we had on hand...
Let me just start off by saying - I overcooked it. In my overzealous attempt to grill away the "nasty" I ended up with more grey than pink peeking out of the center of my painstakingly sliced heart. It was still quite tasty with none of the weird flavor the butchers had warned of, but I've adjusted the cooking times to save you from making the same mistake.
1 pig heart
3 cloves garlic, skin on
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
1.5 cups white wine
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 artichokes, top third removed, and leaf tips trimmed
1/2 c olive oil
1 clove garlic chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground blk pepper
Lemon Thyme Rémoulade (at the bottom of this post, best if made before you start cooking so the flavors have ample time to meld)
Extra Feta to crumble (there's no such thing as too much cheese)
1. Make Heart Marinade: Crush 3 garlic cloves (skin on) and thyme with a mortar and pestle. Mix with wine, lemon and orange juice, and a splash of olive oil. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Prepare your Artichokes: Rub the cut sides and bottoms of the artichokes with the lemon wedges and place in a large pot of boiling water. Weight them down with a heavy dish or bowl if they're floating, and simmer, partially covered, for about 15 minutes. You'll know they're ready when an outer leaf pulls off easily. Drain upside down. When cool, cut the artichokes into quarters and discard the spiny purple leaves and hairy choke.
3. While the artichokes are cooling, clean your heart! You're going to need to remove all of the outer fat and "silver skin". I watched this video of Chris Cosentino cleaning a beef heart to learn:
Once your heart is in clean pieces (I had 3 pieces) add to the heart marinade and let them soak up the flavors for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
As you can see, I got a nice surprise when I cut into the heart to clean it - it was hairy! I sent an email to Chris Cosentino's website asking about it, but haven't heard anything back yet. I'm guessing that the hair just gets washed in there when the animal is processed. Cleaning it out was no big deal, but the hairs were really lodged in there and I wasn't able to salvage the scraps to make stock with. Bummer.
4. Make the artichoke marinade: In a ziploc bag, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the artichoke quarters and toss to coat. Let marinate, refrigerated, for 2 to 4 hours, jiggling the bag around every half hour to redistribute the mixture.
5. Grill it up! It was raining the day we tried this one out, so we used our cast iron grill pan and I pressed the meat using a few pans and bowls.
Cook on medium high until medium rare - for 30 seconds to 1min on each side. Remove the heart pieces from the grill and set aside to rest for a good 5 minutes. Grill the artichokes until each side is crispy.
6. Thinly slice the heart against the grain and plate with grilled artichoke quarters (we eat a lot of veg, so we went with one artichoke per person). Crumble feta over the entire plate and drizzle some of the rémoulade over the 'chokes. Serve with the rest of the rémoulade on the side for dipping.
Lemon Thyme Rémoulade
1 cup homemade mayo
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs mustard (prepared, whole grain)
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 - 4 tbs lemon juice
1. Add all ingredients except for the lemon juice to the mayo. Stir gently with a spoon.
2. Slowly whisk in lemon juice 1 tbs at a time until the sauce is to your liking. I prefer mine I little stiffer so I only add 2 tbs.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.