People who have tasted Edirne’s famous pan-fried liver know just how delicious this local dish is. In fact, I personally know hundreds of folks who set out on the road from İstanbul to Edirne just to get their fill of this dish.
The secret to the flavors so unique to pan-fried liver lie not only in the meat itself, but also in the oil used to fry it. Edirne-style liver requires the cook to peel the delicate lining of the liver off first, remove all the tougher tendons and then cut the meat into delicate, leaf-like slices. Before frying it up, the liver is dipped into flour and then tossed into a pan filled with very hot sunflower oil. After it is sautéed over a hot flame, the liver is placed directly onto a serving plate. The rest depends on the eaters! Of course, not only is some cooking talent required to make good Edirne liver, but it doesn’t hurt to have fresh liver from the cows that graze throughout Thrace. It should also be added that a necessary addition to this dish is a dried and then fried long, green pepper.
The good news is that no longer do people have to go all the way to Edirne to get a taste of the city’s famous pan-fried liver! The liver I tasted at Nam-ı Ciğer on Bakırköy’s İncirli Caddesi definitely leaves nothing to be desired when compared with Edirne’s liver. Opened about two-and-a-half years ago, Nam-ı Ciğer is a small, modest establishment, able to seat around 40 people. The interior décor is purposefully modest; you really do feel like you’re sitting in a small restaurant somewhere along the Aegean when you’re here. Blue tables and chairs look good against the white walls and there are minimal accessories. The owner, Ergün Akdeniz, is someone who has worked for years running small restaurants, and that experience is an important difference, especially since other Edirne pan-friend liver eateries in İstanbul generally don’t have their owners on site. There are three staff members working at the restaurant as well.
Though it’s closed on Sundays, really the only thing missing at Nam-ı Ciğer is that the place has no special drink of its own. Other than that, you certainly won’t get better liver anywhere else! The liver is brought in fresh daily. And it’s great, because you can head straight to this dish without wasting your time on anything else — though the kasap köftesi (butcher’s köfte) here is also delicious and a great alternative to the liver. I should also take time to note that the peppers, onions and tomatoes that come with the liver are truly delicious as well. They are brought in straight from the village of Karaağaç. The “piyaz” or white bean salad, made using tahini (sesame paste) from the Antalya region is also great, and well worth the taste. And don’t forget to try the yogurt here; it is brought in from Çatalca, and is truly delicious.
So head straight over to Nam-ı Ciğer, if you’re craving Edirne’s famous pan-fried liver — or if you feel like it’s time to try it!