Once a month, my entire childhood, mom would serve us liver and onions for dinner.
I think it was the only dish in which whining was even remotely tolerated. "Liver and onions, OH NOOOOO," was the hue and cry from the assembled kids.
Mom and dad never really forced us to eat anything. But, if you didn't like what was on the table, there was no alternative. And complaining really wasn't an option; one look from dad was enough to keep any of us quiet. My parents worked hard enough to put food on the table, and we knew it.
It was for these quiet moments of culinary desperation that God invented ketchup. Ketchup was the only thing that could save us from the taste of overwhelming taste of liver, and we poured it on. The onions helped too.
Recently mom and dad admitted to me that they don't like liver that much; they made it as often as they did because (back then, before hormone-fed beef) it was good for us kids. I have been begging them for two years to make it again and they finally did tonight. "I'm sure this will be a popular one for the website," laughed my dad.
And you know what? It was good. Really good. Much better than I remember it being as a kid, and without all that ketchup.
Two important points to remember when making liver, first, use the most organic, free-range, antibiotic, hormone-free calves liver you can. As full of vitamins and nutrients that liver is, it also collects the bad stuff, so get beef that is as free of chemicals as you can.
Second, use calves liver, veal liver, or baby beef liver, not regular beef liver which is just too strong.
Liver and Onions
- 1 1/4 lb calves liver slices (be sure to use calves or veal liver, not mature beef liver)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard to taste
- 3 teaspoons bacon fat
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
Dredge the calves liver in seasoned flour:
Sauté the onions:
Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of bacon fat. Sauté the onions until translucent, a couple of minutes. Remove onions from pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside onto a serving dish
Fry the liver slices:
Add a couple more teaspoons of bacon fat to the skillet. Add the calves liver slices, working in batches. Fry until browned on both sides.
Serve with sautéed onions (and ketchup!).