Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini.               

Ask Tog, November, 1998


The classic Japanese rumaki is made with chicken liver. You may leave them out, if you must. The result will still be good, just not wonderful. This hors d'oeuvres takes a bit of time to prepare. Do so a day in advance to allow time for the soy sauce to seep in.


Chicken livers*
Canned water chestnut slices

How to Figure Quantities

Folks tend to go nuts over these and can easily consume between four and four hundred a piece. So figure a minimum of one chicken liver and two whole slices of bacon per person. The waterchesnuts tend to be infinite. If you detect you are getting low, just cut them in half. No one will complain; the water chestnuts are just there for texture. So just buy one can unless you are feeding an army.


Cut up the chicken livers* into small pieces, around four to six per complete liver. Slice the bacon in half cross-wise, so you end up with two short, fat strips.

Take a piece of liver and a slice of water chestnut and wrap them with a strip of bacon. Slide a toothpick through, capturing the liver and water chestnut within. You will end up with an upright cylinder of bacon containing the two morsels. Repeat until you run out of either chicken livers or bacon. Don't worry, there won't be any leftovers.

Place the rumaki side-by-side in an oven-proof dish and sprinkle generously with soy sauce. Cover and refrigerate.

Final Preparation:

Remove the rumaki from the refrigerator and slide them under the broiler. Make sure the oven rack is not in the topmost position; they should cook a bit slowly. When the bacon is crisp, the rumaki is ready to serve.

Be alert toward the end of the cooking period. Guests will have detected that something very special is going on. You may find more than a few of them with their heads wedged in the broiler, sniffing wildly. Remove their heads from the oven, as they will shield the rumaki from the heat.


*Reader Michelle S. Howard advises me that dates are a fair substitute for dates, for those who can't tolerate liver: "They're kind of sweet, but better than nothing. And they're not nearly as slippery as liver.

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