20 August 2007

Gizzards in your salad

Have you ever eaten chicken gizzards? Duck gizzards? Turkey gizzards? Do you know what a gizzard is? Here's what the American Heritage Dictionary says:
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.

Gésiers confits — pre-cooked chicken gizzards —
being finished off in a sauté pan for use in a salad

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.

The makings for a salade de gésiers — the tomatoes,
cucumber, and green beans are from our garden

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).

Salade de gésiers de poulet — chicken gizzard salad

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.


  1. yum, yum. the pic is beautiful.

    by way of thanks:

  2. I don't enjoy this salad that much in
    restaurants, but your homemade version looks great!

  3. Not unlike a Salade Nicoise sans le poisson, non??

    I like the idea of a crisy little gizzard in a salad...I'll have to keep my eye peeled for this on the menus next visit--which is coming up soon (I arrive 14 September)!

    Lovely photos...

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  4. Hi bluevicar, there are probably as many versions of the salade de gésiers as there are cafés and restaurants in France. You're right about the one we made this past weekend.

    Will you be visiting the Loire Valley when you come to France? Or the Midi? Bon voyage.

  5. Thanks for the recipe for Cajun Dirty Rice. It looks good and I'll make it soon.

    Your link was truncated by Blogger. I'll post it again, as a link: Cajun Dirty Rice.

  6. One of the things I like to have at a restaurant! Salade de gésiers !

  7. I love a good salade de gésiers but have never attempted it at home. Your final, plated version looked beautiful!

  8. years since i was last in france but love confit of gizzards. excited when recently found a source of chicken gizzards here in swansea wales. cooked them in goosefat but would appreciate some wonderful french recipes - however can't speak french.

  9. Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites

  10. Past November 2012, for my birthday and our wedding anniversary, we took a trip to Paris. The day we arrived, we found a restaurant, close to the hotel. I ordered a salad, not knowing what it was, or that it was a French specialty. It was fantastic! I raved about the salad to my daughter, my sister and my mother when we returned home. Today, just by chance, I came upon this page for the chicken gizzard salad. I always keep frozen chicken gizzards at home. I cooked the gizzards in the pressure cooker. We are having chicken gizzards salad tonight! The wine is on the table. My husband promised to pick some French bread on the way home. Thanks for the recipe!!

  11. My husband and I lived in Paris for eight years and one of our favorite meals was salade de gesiers at Cafe de l'industie in the Bastille. I've tried, unsuccessfully, to make this dish at home and, like you, ended up with rubbery gizzards. Thank you for letting me know they are normally confit - Perhaps I will have success next time! :)

  12. Very good post. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well..

  13. Our
    French friend says she is coming over this Sunday and is bringing a container of gesiers to make a salad...sounds interesting....

    1. You must have enjoyed the gizzard salad by now.


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