giz·zard n. 1. A modified muscular pouch immediately behind the stomach in the alimentary canal of birds, having a thick lining and often containing ingested grit, which aids in the mechanical breakdown of seeds before digestion.The gizzard is one of the things we include in the term "giblets" in English, along with the heart, liver, and neck. Sometimes we put the giblets in stuffings or in gravies. The Larousse Gastronomique says that something called "giblet-soup" is a highly prized specialty in England. I found a recipe here.
In France, one of the luncheon salads you see in a lot of cafés and restaurants is a salade de gésiers — a gizzard salad (gésier being the French word for gizzard, obviously). I just searched for the term in my blog, and see that I wrote about gizzards earlier here. And there are a lot of recipes in French for salade de gésiers listed here.
We had a salade de gésiers for lunch yesterday. You can buy the gizzards — chicken, duck, or turkey, as you like — in little packages at the supermarket in France. They are confits, which mean they've been cooked slow and long in duck fat until they are very tender, and then vacuum-packed in a plastic pouch. You take them out of the packaging and sauté them for a few minutes in a pan and they're ready to eat.
If you don't cook gizzards for a long time at low temperature, they will be chewy, or even rubbery, because the gizzard is a tough muscle. I bought some fresh once and just sautéed them for a few minutes. They were nearly inedible (we ate them anyway, chewing vigorously).
To make the gizzard salad, we had lettuce of course, some tomato wedges, a sliced cucumber, a boiled egg, some steamed green beans, and some boiled new potatoes. We dressed all that plus the gizzards with vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, and sunflower oil. Some good French bread is required, as is a glass of red wine. This salad is a full meal, not a starter course.
Gizzards do not have a strong taste. Walt said they were like eating bacon, but not as salty or fatty. I think you might have to wait until you come to France to try them, but don't be afraid to order a salade de gésiers for lunch in a French café if you get a chance.