Venetian Liver & Onions

When I was growing up I only ate liver because I wasn’t given any choice in the matter and it really wasn’t until we moved to Italy that I learned to appreciate the taste. My first taste of real Italian style liver was on one of our first trips to Venice. We were in a little trattoria that was full of locals, and I noticed that many were enjoying the lunch special which was liver Venetian style. I decided to be brave and give it a try, and I have enjoyed liver ever since!

Traditionally, Venetian liver is simply fried in butter until golden, and is served with golden, sweet onions and a soft pillow of polenta. My own version of liver is lightly breaded before frying, and is served with garlic mashed potatoes. To finish off my liver and onions, I like to drizzle just a bit of aged balsamic vinegar over top.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Venetian Liver & Onions

Venetian Liver & Onions

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

A traditional classic dish from the Veneto region.


  • 4 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Red Onions, Very Thinly Sliced
  • Salt
  • 1 Pound Calves Liver, Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Breadcrumbs

To Serve:

  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Heat the olive oil with 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy saute pan over a medium flame.
  2. Add the onions and cook them over low heat until they are very soft and light golden brown.
  3. Salt the onions and remove them to a warm platter.
  4. Beat the eggs and dip each slice of liver first into the eggs, and then into the breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the liver to the pan, salting and cooking for 30 to 45 seconds on each side.
  6. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  7. Serve the liver with onions piled on top with a side serving of soft polenta or garlic mashed potatoes.
  8. Drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar over the liver.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.