Chicken Gizzards at the Mei Restaurant in Montreal
In the West, Chicken Gizzards appear quite frequently in supermarkets, but most people tend to use them only for making Stocks, or in Poultry Stuffing. This is a pity because, as a main ingredient in their own right, they have terrific texture and, when barbecued in Northern Chinese style, as the Mei Restaurant in Montreal, can be a real treat.
For those unfamiliar, the Gizzard is a muscular organ in the digestive system of certain animals, including birds, that helps processes food using previously swallowed grit or stones for grinding. They are very densely muscular, so not only have lots of flavor, but a very chewy texture as well.
At the Mei Restaurant, the gizzards were skewered, then coated with a spice rub of Chili and Cumin that is common in Northern Chinese Barbecue dishes, much like the Squid Grilled at Juxianyuan I reviewed in a previous post. If you look closely at the picture above, you may be able to see a few pieces of green on the closest skewer. I believe this is Scallion, but I do not think that this was used intentionally. Rather, I think that the chef basted the skewers before grilling and happened to use a Scallion oil rather than a plain variety.
In any event, the skewers were grilled very nicely, without drying out the meat, and the end result was a texture that was still juicy but with a pleasant chewiness. I can attest that this takes a little skill with this particular part of the Chicken anatomy, but the kitchen at the Mei Restaurant managed it well.
As for the taste, I would have to be honest and say that, had I been told I was being served Pork, Beef, or even Lamb, I might not have quibbled (although the texture might have been a give away). Now, lest you thing this was because the spice masked any taste, I can say that these were added with a light touch and the mild taste was the result of freshness. Whatever the case, the Chicken Gizzards at Mei Restaurant were delicious and very enjoyable.