Fegato all’Abruzzese

Sauteed Calves Liver with Onions, Orange Zest, and Pistachios

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

The following is a loose interpretation of a recipe from the Abruzzi region of Italy that uses pork liver with these flavorings for a sausage. We find that it adapts beautifully to sautéed calves liver and would probably work with chicken livers as well.


  • ¾ cup (all-purpose) flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pounds calves liver, cut into eight ⅓-inch-thick slices
  • ¾ cup (or as needed) olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced red onions, about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • ¼ cup grated orange zest covered with 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup pistachio nuts, toasted and chopped, for garnish


Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the liver with the seasoned flour and shake off the excess.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until nearly tender, about 5 minutes; remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the same pan over high heat. Add as many slices of liver as will comfortably fit in the pan, and sear 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare: Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining liver.

Pour off the excess oil, add the stock to the pan and boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Return the onions to the pan, add the orange zest and juice, and cook 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange 2 slices liver on each plate and spoon the onions over top. Garnish with the chopped pistachios and serve with fried or roasted potatoes.