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.
Deborah Mele 2011
Venetian Liver & Onions
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
- 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.