Venetian style Calf liver with Onions-typical recipe of northern Italy

In this post I will explain how to prepare easily venetian style calf liver with onions at home.

calf liver with onions

This dish is my favorite one, because of it remembers me where I was born : Isola delle Scala (VR), where I lived for 6 years, my mum, who doesn’t like calf’s liver, but who was always cooking it for my family and I.

The calf liver is one of the many Venetian traditional recipes of Veneto cuisine. Among the various dishes, this is definitely one of the best known around the world for its unique taste and special flavour that combines the liver aroma of onions.

I guess everyone will love it because calf liver and onions is a favorite in the UK and in Germany where it is usually eaten along with boiled or mashed potatoes. Lamb’s liver is the usual choice in the UK and is often accompanied by fried bacon.

In the French traditional recipe the liver is fried with butter and lard. In Catalan cuisine olive oil is used, instead of butter, and fried garlic is added to the mixture. In Italian cuisine, the fegato alla Veneziana recipe includes a dash of red wine or vinegar  and the fegato alla Romana a dash of white wine and is cooked in lard.

This is one of the reasons why I love food.

This is an ideal dish to prepare as dinner now that it getting colder. It is so easy to make and doesn’t require too much time. So if you have a group of friends over this could be the solution to serve something different but so tasty at the same time.  I am sure that you will like as much I do.

Ingredients for 4 people 

  • vinegar  2 tbs
  • butter 30 g
  • calf liver 500 g.
  • large onions 2
  • extra virgin olive oil 1/2 glass
  • a pinch of pepper
  • bay leaves 4


  • Cut the onion into thin slices and let them dry on low heat in a pan with oil and butter, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • After about 10 minutes, when the onions have softened, add the vinegar and the liver slices, from which you have removed the skin which covers it, and let it cook for no more than 5 minutes on high heat.
  • While the liver is cooking, add the bay leaves to the mixture which will be amortised .The laurel leaves will aromatize the mixture of onions. Remember to remove them before serving.
  • You will see that the liver is cooked when it will become brown. It doesn’t take too long so please keep an eye on it,  otherwise it might stick on the bottom.
  • Season with salt and pepper and remove the liver from the heat, then serve still warm with lemon wedges and onion with the sauce.
  • Notes: If you want to make the recipe liver alla Veneziana lighter, use only oil to cook. Also remember that this dish is always served hot and should not be heated to make hard liver.

Yon can serve with your favourite red wine and some toasted slices of ciabatta bread.

Enjoy your meal (buona cena a tutti) by Alessandra Simple Recipes

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