Wednesday, January 26, 2011

fegato alla Veneziana

This is Trattoria alla Madonna, just off the Rialto, in Venice. I first found this gem in 1970, and since thenI have established a tradition that my first luncheon on a trip to Venice always would be here. With always the same menu: spaghetti con vongole and fegato alla Veneziana. Not having been in Venice for a while, I pined for a fegato, so last week I made it myself. My wife and I loved it.

There are many recipes, varying only slightly, for fegato -- some with a touch of aceto (vinegar) -- not here. Marcella's does not have wine, but we like it with. This simple recipe is adapted from that huge compendium, La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy

Whatever the recipe, one fundamental principal must hold: simmer the onions very slowly for a long time and then cook the liver in a flash!

  • four tablespoons olive oil
  • four tablespoons butter
  • one-half cup beef or veal broth
  • one pound of onions, thinly sliced
  • one pound of calves liver, cut thin and then thinly sliced
  • two tablespoons white wine
  • salt and pepper

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil, butter and broth. Add the onions, and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally until very translucent, but not colored. Remove the onions. This could be a half hour.

Add a touch more olive oil if needed. Turn heat up. Add the liver and do a quick stir. The liver, depending on its thinness, should be done in just a few seconds. Add the onions back, add the wine, salt and pepper, stir and serve. Serve ideally over a soft polenta.

A simple variation: at the last step add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of chopped parsley.