Chicken livers are sold whole; other livers are generally pre-sliced but can be ordered whole. When preparing a whole liver, divide the lobes and cut off any exposed ducts or connective tissue. Cut away any blood vessels, taking care not to damage the flesh. Calf's liver is being prepared here.

1. Peel off the opaque outer membrane with your fingers, holding the liver down to stop the flesh tearing.

2. Cut the liver into slices about 5 mm thick with a chef's knife, and cut away any internal ducts.


Pig's liver has a strong, pronounced flavour. Soak it in milk to "sweeten" it before cooking.

Prepare the liver (see above). Fill a bowl with enough cold milk to cover it, add the liver and turn to coat. Let soak for about 1 hour.


• Calf's liver is very mild and tender. It is best grilled, sautéed or pan-fried.

• Lamb's liver tends to be drier and less delicate than calf's liver, but it can also be sautéed.

• Pig's liver is strong, and is good for pâtés and terrines.

• Chicken livers are mild and delicate; they are usually pan-fried and used for pâtés.


Offal needs careful handling, and freshness is crucial. Choose moist and shiny flesh with no dry patches; avoid offal with a greenish colour, slimy surface or strong smell. Store fresh offal in the refrigerator and use within two days. Wash all offal very thoroughly before using.