Sunday, 9 June 2013

How to Cook Your Calf Liver

It is a tradition in Venice to cook calf liver strips with caramelized onions and butter to give it a rich, savory, and subtly sweet flavor. In this recipe adapted from the famous Hotel Cipriani, classic Venetian-style calf liver is garnished with freshly chopped parsley and served with grilled polenta. You can make the polenta a few hours or a day before cooking the liver so that you can chill the polenta in the fridge and let it cool and harden.

Those who don’t like liver will think twice when they try this recipe. A powerful storehouse of nutrients, calf liver is an excellent food choice that can be cooked and served the gourmet way. When cooked right, it turns creamy and luscious.

Available all-year round, calf liver is easy to prepare and it takes only a few ingredients to make a delicious meal out of it. The liver of calf, because it is young, is less likely to accumulate toxins, hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides found in the liver of older animals. Buy organic calf liver to ensure that it is free of toxins. Organic calf liver is also more flavorful and tender than commercial counterparts. For even cooking, cut the liver into even sizes. Slice them into small strips so that they cook tender and tasty as opposed to chewy and leathery. Overcooking the liver will make them fibrous and tough so cook them only until they become tender.

Foie de veau a la Venetian is also delicious served with mushrooms braised in red wine and can be served with a chilled bottle of red wine for a romantic evening. If you have leftovers from this dish, you can easily turn it into a liver spread or creamy liver paste. Simply add chopped boiled eggs and puree in a blender or chop very finely.


4 foie de veau (veal liver) about 1/2 lb. each
2 onions, pure cold-pressed olive oil
pepper, salt
1 ½ tablespoons butter
white polenta

1. Slice the liver into small strips. Chop the onions thinly. In the pan, saute onions in olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper.

2. While the onions are caramelizing, chop the parsley very finely. Use only the young leaves. When the onions have browned a little, add the liver to the onions and cook until tender. Add a lump of butter and stir. Add the parsley and mix well.

3. To make the white polenta, heat a bit of oil in a large pot. Slowly pour the polenta flour gently stirring all the time. Dilute with water and stir well. Cool this mixture slowly always stirring for about thirty minutes until you get a nice creamy polenta. Pour the polenta in a rectangular dish so that it can be cut into squares. Allow it to cool and put in the fridge for about an hour so that it hardens and is easy to cut. Cut the hardened polenta into squares and brown them in the grill.

4. Place the cooked liver on a serving plate and add the warm polenta on the sides as garnish.

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