4

Yak Liver Makes a Surprising Appearance at the Way Back

This tagliatelle gets a boost of flavor from an uncommon ingredient: yak liver.EXPAND
This tagliatelle gets a boost of flavor from an uncommon ingredient: yak liver.
Mark Antonation
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The Way Back's chefs, Marcus Eng and Samuel Charles, hold monthly test-lab dinners so that guests can weigh in on potential new dishes for the West Highland eatery's seasonal menu. A recent kitchen creation with an unusual ingredient was a surprise hit with diners, but fit in perfectly with the Way Back's mission of using local, sustainable ingredients.

Yak are well adapted to cold, high-altitude living and require less feed than cattle, making them a good alternative source of meat in the Rocky Mountain region. Eng purchases yak liver sourced from a Colorado farm and uses it to make a tagliatelle dish that customers have responded well to, he says.

The liver is soaked in milk for two days before being cooked to give it a gentler flavor. According to Eng, the key to good liver, yak or otherwise, is not to overcook it, which prevents the meat from becoming grainy. Once done, the liver is turned into a mousse with plenty of butter and cream and a little sherry. That mousse coats a swirl of housemade pasta showered with pine nuts, sage leaves and Cacio Pecora cheese from Fruition Farm.

The mild, earthy flavor of the liver balances well with the herbs and nuts in the dish, showing that the chefs really understand flavor profiles and combinations. Maybe yak isn't a protein you've encountered on Denver menus — especially not the liver — but the Way Back offers an excellent introduction to this alternative to standard beef, pork and chicken.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.