Fegato alla veneziana, a Venetian dish of calf’s liver with onions, has been on virtually every Soho Italian restaurant menu for decades. Surprisingly, it was the one dish they all seemed competent at: ghastly trattorie that couldn’t manage a decent meal if their lives depended on it somehow managed to get this one right. Possibly because of all these associations, the dish has never been served at Frith Street, which is a pity as the Italians have, as usual, got it completely spot on – liver and onions is a winner. Liver and beetroot, on the other hand, sounds exceedingly dubious. The idea was first mooted by
A lunch at the restaurant in late 1998 left me with six portions of liver, but only enough beetroot for three. Normally the dish includes
Cut the liver slices into
The whole dish only takes a couple of minutes to cook, but it must be a seamless process: once you start, you mustn’t stop. Heat a large frying pan over a high flame. Dredge the liver strips in the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Put a tablespoon of oil into the hot pan, and as soon as this is hot, throw in the onion and bay leaf, and sauté briskly until colouring and starting to wilt. Add a small amount of the butter, and as soon as it melts put the liver in and cook, still on high heat, until the meat is sealed on all sides. You will probably need to add
Serve immediately. Fegato alla veneziana is correctly served with soft (wet) polenta but a much more palatable alternative is Mashed Potatoes.
© 1999 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.