Thrace-Cooked Veal Liver

Yaprak Cığer

Thrace is a region that overlaps Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. In the Turkish part, the town of Edirne (named after the Roman emperor Hadrian) is known for two things: olive oil wrestling and the livers of the cattle that grow in the neighbourhood. The liver is sliced very long and thin so that it looks like leaves (yaprak) and is always pan-fried. One thing I learned from an Edirne liver master was to rest the liver in milk to drain the excess blood and soften the taste. I’ve had customers who have never enjoyed liver turn into converts when they try this.



  • 1 veal liver (about 200 g/7 oz)
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk
  • 75 g (2⅔ oz/½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g ( oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 dried whole red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon isot (or chilli flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Sumac Salad

  • ½ red onion
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 3 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley stalks, chopped


Peel the thin skin off the liver. With a very sharp knife, slice the liver into about eight leaves, about 5 mm (¼ in) thick. Place the livers in a bowl, cover with the milk and leave to rest for 1 hour. Pat the liver strips dry with paper towel.

Sift the flour into a bowl. Roll the liver in the flour to coat well. Shake off any excess flour.

Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat until it begins to sizzle. Add the liver and cook for 2 minutes on each side until the corners are crisp. Sprinkle on the salt and chillies and sauté quickly, then remove the pan from the heat.

Mix the paprika, black pepper, isot, thyme and cumin together in a large bowl. Toss the cooked slices of liver into the mixed spices.

Thinly slice the red onion, place in a bowl and add the sumac and chopped parsley. Knead the onion mixture for 1 minute to mix the juice of the onion with the parsley. Place the liver slices on a large plate, add a dollop of onion salad on top, and serve.