Fegato Alla Veneziana (Veal Liver with Polenta and Onions)

Photo by Stephen Clarke

In Venice, eating ‘cicchetti’ (tapas-style small portions) has been very common for centuries. This dish of sautéed veal liver with onion and polenta is a Venetian classic.

Courtesy of Bacaro

Serves 4

  • 16 ounces calf liver, cut into 2”x 1” strips
  • 2 large white onions, thinly julienned
  • 6 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta flour

Boil the water with a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the polenta flour while stirring until combined. Lower the heat to just simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat but keep it covered.

Meanwhile cook the onions in a braising pan, covered, at a low heat together with 2 tablespoon olive oil, the herbs and the wine, until they become translucent (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, discard the rosemary and keep warm.

Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, add the liver strips and quickly sauté just until they brown. Add the onions and cook for additional 2 minutes, stirring often and scraping the browning at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to create a dark caramelized sauce. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and let sit for 1 minute.

Pour about 4 tablespoon of the soft polenta onto each plate, divide the liver over it, add the chopped parsley and serve immediately.


What to Drink: Barba ‘I Visari’ old Vines Montepluciano d’Abruzzo. “With loads of dark cherry, liquorice and dusty raisins, this is ideal with the iron-y liver and will cut through the richness of polenta and some caramelized onions.” Rupert Owen, Premier Crew sommelier