Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Fegato all veneziana: Italian cuisine on the cheap.

Liver is out of fashion. It should not be. This delicacy is consistently cited by nutritionists for its easily-absorbed iron and vitamins of various letters of the alphabet. It is also delicious when cooked in the right way, i.e., not overdone.

It is also inexpensive, a factor that is starting to trump fashion. I bought a calves liver for $3 at Victoria Meats, one of several very good butchers at the top of Sydney Road, a precinct that now beats the Brunswick end of the street pointless for value and variety.


As the onions in the following recipe melt down with the lemon juice, wine and nutmeg, the resulting aroma will have your neighbours at the door if you're not careful. Lock it from the inside before you start.

Chop three onions finely and fry them on low heat in half butter and half olive oil - about a tablespoonful of each - to the point of translucence. Add a cup of white wine (that cleanskin from Dan Murphy's is just fine) and the juice of a lemon. Grate some nutmeg into the onions (or a shake of powder if you haven't a nutmeg) and add salt and pepper. Keep the heat low and cook the onions until the fluid is reduced and the onions are shimmering.

Remove onions to serving plates and using the same pan, quickly fry thin slices of liver adding a little more butter and olive oil if necessary. A few minutes either side is adequate depending on thickness. Aim for faint pink in the middle, like lamb.

Place liver on the onions and serve with spinach and polenta or baked scalloped potatoes.

There was enough for five servings, a cost less than a dollar per serve if you buy your vegetables well.

Still don't like liver?


Anonymous said...

Sad to say, I married badly for the enjoyment of liver dishes at home. I've had this dish in Venice, and it was delicious.

Anonymous said...

It's been an uphill battle here as well getting liver on the table, Janis. I've eaten the dish only in Australia, so I have to close my eyes and think of gondolas, but what usually comes to mind instead is a Woody Allen movie.

Anonymous said...

husband adores it like that, sans the polenta - more of a mash man he is.

I love chicken livers, s&p dredge in flour, pan fry til pink. Toss in diced shallots and deglaze with marsala (dry or sweet), add some butter and call it a day. Over polenta please.

I could never understand why more people don't eat it. I really think if they changed the name it might help.