Fegato alla Griglia

Barbecued Grilled Liver

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Preparation info

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Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

By Alastair Little

Published 1996

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This is the simplest way to cook liver. One danger is that the burnt taste of the charred stripes will overwhelm the liver’s delicate flavour.

I like grilled calves’ liver with English mustard. Incidentally, the Italians don’t eat much mustard, and if you want to get some in a restaurant ask for (senape’ (stress on the last e). Repeated demands by me for ‘mostarda’ in a posh Roman restaurant met with slack-jawed incomprehension from the waiter until my companion tried ‘senape’ (in her native Danish). Instant success, the lights went on behind his eyes and off he ran to the delicatessen to get us some.


  • 500 g calves’ liver in 4 good slices, trimmed and skinned
  • good olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices smoked pancetta or good-quality bacon (optional)
  • 2 lemons halved


If barbecuing, allow the fire to die down. If using a ridged grill pan, heat to medium. Marinate the liver in a little olive oil with salt and pepper while you get everything else ready. If using the pancetta, grill this in advance and keep warm (wipe grill pan if using).

Grill the liver for 2–3 minutes on the first side. Do not attempt to move it until it is time for turning. Grill for 2 minutes on the other side. Serve with the grilled pancetta and lemon halves.

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