Tuesday 25 May 2010

May 2006 - Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions

Issue #49 of delicious. is packed with so many wonderful recipes. I had a bit of a hard time choosing, although at the same time I think that I had in the back of my mind what would ultimately make from this issue the whole time.

The first recipe that I really wanted to make was Armando Percuoco's Casatiello. It is a yeast dough that is rolled out and then filled with salami, cheese and boiled eggs. It is then rolled up and placed in a ring pan and cook. I just love salami and cheese. I adore pizza with salami and cheese on it and have been known to eat left over salami and cheese for days after making a pizza.

Another recipe that I considered was Valli Little's Pork Cutlets with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce. The name of the recipe really speaks for itself. I was very impressed with strawberries as part of a savoury meal when I had them in a salad with lamb cutlets. That was one of the reasons I didn't make this recipe as it was fairly similar to that one even though this one is pork and the other lamb. Another reason is that strawberries are ridiculously expensive at this time of year. I suppose that I could have used frozen ones but it wouldn't have been the same and there were plenty of other recipes to choose from.

I decided to make Jill Dupleix's Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions. I know that there would be a lot of people out there that would say yuck to liver but I quite like it. I have however been eating it since I was a young child. My gramma used to cook it and therefore my mum did too. My dad always said that he hated liver when he was a child but loved the way that my mum cooked it. It is also part of a whole animal approach to eating too and there is nothing wrong with these cuts. I will admit that I am not a fan of kidney or tongue and I do not think that I have ever had heart, I may have to give it a try.

One good thing about liver is that it is very inexpensive. From my local butcher I got 1 kg of liver for $4.00. I had my butcher slice it into thin slices and once I trimmed it up a bit I got enough for six meals for me and one for my cats. I think that is pretty good for $4.00! If you can get calf's liver like Jill's recipe calls for it is better, I could only get bullock's liver and it has a stronger flavour. Not a bad flavour but it is stronger. The calf's liver is quite mild in taste. Pork liver is also very nice but butchers don't generally get it in, I have always had to order it from my butcher if I want it.

I only made one change to Jill's recipe. My gramma and my mum always used to soak the sliced liver in tomato juice. I don't know exactly why however I believe that the acidity of the tomato juice acted as a tenderiser. I have always believed that it was also done to remove bitterness but I do not know if that is true or not. Jill's recipe did not soak the liver but I just felt that I had to do it. In fact the only difference in Jill's recipe to my mothers is the balsamic onions. Mum always did onions with liver but the balsamic added an extra dimension to it. It was a wonderful meal. In some ways it was a perfect example of comfort food for me. I served it with the Polenta Senza Bastone from the May 2005 issue and steamed broccoli and the onions. I just loved it and am very pleased that I have more liver in the freezer.

Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions

Serves 4

  • 750 g calf's liver, cut into 5 mm thick slices
  • Enough tomato juice to cover (1 -2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Balsamic Onions
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced (I used tuscan red onions and sliced in the food processor)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Place liver in a large dish and cover with tomato juice and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes but not too much longer.
  • For onions: Heat butter and oil over a low heat.
  • Add onions and cover with lid and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add balsamic, sugar and season with salt and pepper and cook over a high heat stirring for a few minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • For liver: Heat butter and olive oil over a high heat.
  • Drain each slice of liver, I do this by running it over the edge of the dish, and one at a time, dust in flour.
  • When butter and oil are hot fry slices of liver quickly, they really only need a minute or so on each side. It is easier to cook in batches. When you remove from the pan place on a plate in a warm oven while cooking the rest.
  • Serve with polenta and onions.

Liver with Caramelised Balsamic Onions

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