I like liver. I do. I was one of those weird kids that requested liver for dinner. My siblings hated me. I didn’t eat other weird things like brains and tongue, which my dad would eat when he could find them. I did eat liver, but only my Mom’s. Then I started making it for myself about once a month for the iron. Then a friend’s mom told me I shouldn’t eat it because it’s full of bad stuff like cholesterol and toxins. So, I stopped. Many years later, in the present time, I scoffed at myself and said why not eat it? I grew up using margarine instead of butter for health reasons and look where that stands today. So, I’ve started buying a pound of liver, cooking it and dividing it into four portions. I freeze the portions and have it once a week for lunch. I don’t serve it to my family since they don’t like it.
For my taste, calves liver is the best. Reading over the recipes in Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, it seems this is what most Italians choose to eat. I don’t care for chicken or goose liver – pate, foie gras, whatever it’s called — it’s too dry for my taste. Marcella Hazan has four different recipes which all call for calves liver. This is what my mother used to use. It’s pink in color, and delicate in taste. I can only find beef liver here and it’s previously frozen. Even Whole Foods, where I once found Calf’s liver, didn’t have it. I had them check the back without any luck.
The beef liver is a different color and texture than calves liver. My mom used to soak the calves liver in milk, but looking at the beef liver and knowing it may be bitter I chose to soak it overnight in lemon. I didn’t use a recipe from Hazan’s book, I cooked it using and old recipe I have a xeroxed copy of. I’m not sure where it came from, but suspect it’s from The Mediterranean Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein.
Red onions are sliced and sauteed in oil. I used bacon fat. Then the bacon is cooked. The liver is sliced, dredged in flour and pan fried. Lastly the pan is deglazed and the onions and roasted hazelnuts are added. The liver is served with the onion mixture over top.
This is my favorite way to prepare liver, it was pretty good, but better still with calves liver. I have also prepared it without the hazelnuts and it is just as good.