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Venetian calf’s liver and onions

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian recipe for Venetian calf’s liver and onions.

By Rodney Dunn
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus soaking
Venetian calf’s liver and onions
Venetian calf’s liver and onions

This classic, adapted from a recipe at Harry's Bar in Venice, will convert even the most reluctant offal-eater. The secret is caramelising the onion properly. 


  • 1 kg calf’s liver, soaked in milk for an hour, drained, trimmed
  • 125 ml extra-virgin olive oil (½ cup)
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 80 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve


  • 1
    Pat liver dry with absorbent paper, cut lengthways into four pieces, then cut widthways into thin slices and set aside.
  • 2
    Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Add onion, sauté until caramelised and very soft (12-15 minutes), remove from pan and set aside.
  • 3
    Add remaining oil to pan, increase heat to high, add liver in batches and turn frequently until golden and the edges begin to crisp (3-5 minutes). Return onion and juices to pan and stir to warm through (1-2 minutes), season to taste, transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
  • 4
    Add butter to pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to remove residue on base, remove pan from heat, add parsley and spoon over liver and onion. Serve with steamed baby potatoes tossed with extra parsley.


Drink Suggestion: Juicy red Valpolicella. Drink suggestion by Max Allen