Iscas de Cebolada ❦ Calves' Liver and Onions Portuguese Style
I can't believe it has taken me this long to publish this recipe! Calf's liver, aka veal liver, and onions with this amazing sauce would be my last meal, without hesitation. Are you picturing dry, crumbly and thick and gray pieces of liver, and how you swore you'd never eat it again? Then I promise you they made it wrong. I will almost always hesitate to order this dish in restaurants, because it can go so terribly wrong, lol.
My maternal grandmother, Alzira, used to make it the best. I can taste it in my mouth just visualizing it. In Lisbon, you will see it on menus, typically, as iscas "com elas", meaning "with boiled potatoes", with or without onions, and not necessarily calves' liver. Pork seems to be very common, but I do not like it. This is the only liver I will eat. It is melt in your mouth tender and very mild tasting. I also only ever serve this with french fries , buttered white rice, or mashed potatoes. The secret is the marinating and thin slicing. It really must be thin to prevent over cooking and give you an exceptional mouthfeel. You need to marinate the liver overnight, or at least 6 hours. The marinade becomes your pan sauce, so it is a one pot meal.
Wondering where the best calves' liver and onions is served? Other than my house:)
The best restaurant calves' liver I have ever had out, is tied!
On holiday in the Madeira Islands, in the city of Funchal, at a great little restaurant called
TM/ Taberna Madeira.
Equally perfect was our lunch at Le Jardin du Cloître of the Hotel Couvent des Minimes, in Lille, France.
Here they were served with mashed potatoes, it was cooked to perfection.
In terms of buying calves' liver here in the UK, it is a bit hard to come by. I buy mine from Morrison's. It is delicious and inexpensive. Waitrose also carries it, but the price is extortionate, to put it mildly. Many farms sell online, but I have personally never sourced it this way.
I do consider this to be a special meal, so I do often splurge.
I really hope you try my grandmother's recipe, I always feel her hugging me when I make this.