Venetian Liver & Onions

When I was growing up I only ate liver because I wasn’t given any choice in the matter and it really wasn’t until we moved to Italy that I learned to appreciate the taste. My first taste of real Italian style liver was on one of our first trips to Venice. We were in a little trattoria that was full of locals, and I noticed that many were enjoying the lunch special which was liver Venetian style. I decided to be brave and give it a try, and I have enjoyed liver ever since!

Traditionally, Venetian liver is simply fried in butter until golden, and is served with golden, sweet onions and a soft pillow of polenta. My own version of liver is lightly breaded before frying, and is served with garlic mashed potatoes. To finish off my liver and onions, I like to drizzle just a bit of aged balsamic vinegar over top.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Venetian Liver & Onions

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

A traditional classic dish from the Veneto region.


4 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
4 Red Onions, Very Thinly Sliced
1 Pound Calves Liver, Thinly Sliced
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Breadcrumbs
To Serve:
Aged Balsamic Vinegar


Heat the olive oil with 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy saute pan over a medium flame.
Add the onions and cook them over low heat until they are very soft and light golden brown.
Salt the onions and remove them to a warm platter.
Beat the eggs and dip each slice of liver first into the eggs, and then into the breadcrumbs.
Add the liver to the pan, salting and cooking for 30 to 45 seconds on each side.
Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Serve the liver with onions piled on top with a side serving of soft polenta or garlic mashed potatoes.
Drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar over the liver.


5 Responses to “Chicken In Spicy Tomato Sauce”

  1. 1
    Susan — July 5, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

    Made this the other night. Did the oven route because the timing that way was just going to work better for me. It was delicious and a big hit at our house. I used all bone in breast meat since we all prefer that. Served it with a little angelhair with garlic and olive oil. This was the first of your recipes that I have tired. (Recently discovered your site.) I am looking forward to trying more!


  2. 2
    Christina — August 5, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    On the stove top as I type this! Smells and looks great already… Can’t wait for the finished product!


  3. 3
    Paolo — August 31, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

    Summer colds are the worst! Can’t smell anything, taste is reduced, aches and pains….but cooking something Italian and simple is always a way to cheer things up…was surfing on the net out of curiosity and saw your recipe online…fresh ingredients and the right blend of tasty accents make this dish a favorite amongst those who like Italian fare…I add a nice zucchini in the mix as it takes in the flavor through the simmer :) grazie e salute!


  4. 4
    Janice roberts — August 21, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

    Made this several times now….n the flavors are sooo good we also make it will garlic n olive oil angel hair….n serve with a crusty baguette….perfect combination !!!


  5. 5
    Robert Beckett — August 24, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

    Turned out perfect. my wife doesn’t like her food too spicy so I skipped the whole green chili and added 1/8 Tsp. of Red Pepper powder, along with one can of drained artichoke hearts. The wife and I both devastated a whole 1/4 chicken served of Asian sticky rice with a ladle of sauce and a green pepper garnish. Definitely a cook again recipe

    Wheelchair Bob ( Home chef in training)


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