Say you are watching your mother crack open the spine of a raw chicken, curious as she flattens it out into a “toad shape”. She pulls out the heart and lungs, still attached, cleans up the unappealing bloody bits. Then she leaves you alone with one spatchcocked chicken and its insides and an invitation to prepare supper.
You look at the gizzards a little suspiciously. Apparently you have eaten and enjoyed them before, fried up in hearty Gascon salads, disguised by leaves and croutons and foie gras. The heart is tiny, ressembles nothing more than the tip of a bloody finger. The lungs are peculiarly beautiful, not spongy as you would expect, but firm. A rich purple with an oyster-blue sheen from the membrane. They do look like an odd sea creature, a little alien but potentially delicious.
So you fry some shallots in butter, because nothing can go wrong there. (Actually, you may burn them slightly, but this adds to the complex flavour, you convince yourself.) You scoop out the insides of three tiny round courgettes; might as well butcher some vegetables as well as a poor chicken. Push the shallots to one side, sear the heart and lungs quickly, remove from the pan. While you are struggling to remove the meat from its membrane, you saute the courgette stomachs in the meat juices, add torn up breadcrumbs, herbs. Dice the meat very finely.
Finally, you stuff the spherical courgettes with your wilted and peppery gizzard mixture, put on their hats and bake them along with the chicken that has been covered in cream and obscene amounts of mustard.
When you sit down to dinner, you are ready to apologise in case the surprise ingredient is tough, bitter, too odd. It isn’t. It is delicious. You relax.