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Venetian liver with onions in a white plate, with mush potatoes on the side

Venetian Liver and Onions

  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x


Savour the delectable Venetian liver and onions, a simple yet flavourful dish that pairs tender liver with sweet caramelised onions.


Units Scale
  • 600 g veal or pork liver, cut into thin slices
  • 600 g white onions
  • 60 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g butter
  • 4 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 handful of sage
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the marinade (optional, but recommended)

  • 1 litre of milk


  1. Start by rinsing the liver slices under cold running water. After that, cut the liver into strips approximately 2 to 3 centimetres wide, taking care to remove the white skin, as it can become bitter when cooked. Place the liver in a bowl and cover it with milk, ensuring all pieces are submerged. Allow the liver to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours. This step will help to reduce any bitterness in the liver and tenderise the meat.
  2. In the meantime, thinly slice the onions using a mandoline slicer for the best results. Melt the butter and oil together in a large saucepan over medium heat. To infuse the mixture with flavour, add a few sage leaves. Incorporate the onions into the pan, season them with salt, and pour in the white wine vinegar. Cook the onions on very low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, ensuring they soften and wilt without browning.
  3. While the onions are cooking, drain the liver and cut it into strips about 3mm thick. Once the onions have wilted, increase the heat to high and add the liver to the saucepan.
  4. Cook the liver over high heat for 5 minutes, or until it turns white. Keep the liver tender by ensuring it is not overcooked, as this can result in dry and tough meat. Season the dish with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the Venetian-style liver straight away, accompanied by a side of creamy polenta or smooth mashed potatoes for a delicious and satisfying meal.


For this recipe, it is advisable to use coarse salt, as it aids in drawing out moisture from the onions more quickly.

When the dish is finished cooking, consider enhancing the flavour with a drizzle of vinegar or a splash of lemon juice.

For those who are lactose intolerant, an alternative marinating option for the liver is to use a combination of oil and vinegar. Combine a cup of white wine vinegar with a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl. If desired, enhance the marinade with some chopped sage. Add the liver to the mixture, ensuring it is fully immersed in the marinade for optimal flavour infusion.

It is essential to keep the liver’s cooking time brief, as overcooking this particular cut of meat can result in a bitter taste.

To enjoy the dish at its best, serve the Venetian-style liver immediately after cooking, since liver meat does not keep well for extended periods. However, you may prepare the onions in advance to save time.

Please note that freezing this dish is not recommended.

If you find yourself with leftover Venetian liver and onions, why not transform it into a delightful pâté? Simply blend the remaining liver with an equal quantity of butter to create a smooth and flavourful spread. This exquisite pâté pairs wonderfully with toast, crackers or crostini, offering an indulgent way to enjoy any extra liver and elevate your next appetiser or snack.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinade: 2-3 Hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Pan Fried
  • Cuisine: Italian
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