1. The best way to prepare calf’s liver is Venetian-style, with a lot of onions, caramelized to a golden brown with some butter. Even if you’re not into liver and avoid it at all costs, this classic Italian healthy gourmet food known as Foie de veau a la Venetian might change your mind about the highly nutritious and notorious meat. Chef Renato Piccolotto demonstrates how to prepare Venetian Calf Liver according to the local tradition, served with polenta.

    Calf’s liver has milder flavor and more tender texture than beef liver. Chef Piccolotto slices the meat into small strips so that they cook easier and absorb more of the delicious butter and the sweet juices of the onions. This also helps the meat become more tender when cooked. Also trim all the excess fat of the meat which can be quite chewy. For this recipe, it is best to use large white onions, which have delicate sweetness and a milder zing than red onions. Chef Piccolotto suggests that you cook the liver very well as is the tradition in Venice, but other people prefer to cook the liver quickly so that it is still a bit pink like medium rare steak. You can cook the calf liver according to your preference.

    Polenta, which is Italian corn meal mush and a staple dish in Northern Italy, is the perfect combination to this flavorful Venetian dish. Cut them into squares so that they are easier to bite into. The polenta will wonderfully soak up the delicious brown juices of the caramelized onions and calf liver. If you have no time to make polenta, you can also serve this with baked or mashed potatoes or some crusty bread.


    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

    Preparation Instructions

    1. Cut the liver into small strips so that it doesn’t become too tough when cooked. Chop the onions very thinly. Pour olive oil in the frying pan. Saute onions in the pan and season with freshly grated black pepper and a pinch of salt.

    2. While the onions are cooking, chop the parsley very finely. Use only the young leaves. When the onions have browned a little, add the strips of liver to the onions. Add a lump of butter and stir. It is a tradition in Venice to cook the liver very well, although you can cook it as you prefer. Add the parsley and mix well.

    3. To make the white polenta, combine white maize flour, water, and oil. Slowly pour the polenta flour very slowly stirring all the time. Dilute with water and stir well. Coo 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.