As I wend my way through my second Onion novel, China Lily, which is taking too, too, long to put into the computer, I approach page 300. The end is in sight.
My intent was to write a trilogy that followed a Fourth Century Italian farm family, as it developed into an International business empire. There was to be 1,000 years between the first and second book, and the third book was to be set in the present day.
I confess, my interest might not be sustained for the third novel.
However, as I soon describe this recipe – and its creation – in detail, I thought it might make someone a nice supper.
Fittingly, this recipe is from Harry’s Bar, in Venice.
When we visited Venice, we asked the locals where to find the definitive calf’s liver and onions. Everyone said Harry’s Bar, and, after trying it there—and lots of other places—we had to agree. This is Harry’s recipe.
2 lb. calf’s liver, trimmed and thin membrane peeled off
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 small yellow onions, peeled, halved, and very thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. butter
1⁄2 bunch parsley, trimmed and chopped
Cut liver lengthwise into 4 long pieces, then, using a very sharp knife and pressing the palm of your hand firmly against the meat, slice each piece crosswise into pieces as thin as possible.
Heat 4 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
Increase heat to medium-high and add remaining 2 tbsp. oil. When oil is sizzling hot, add liver and cook, in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until brown and crispy on the edges, 3-5 minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper, then add reserved onions and accumulated juices. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring and turning liver and onions constantly while shaking skillet over heat. Transfer to a heated serving platter.
Add butter to skillet and scrape up any brown bits stuck to bottom of skillet as butter melts. Remove skillet from heat and stir in parsley. Spoon butter and parsley over liver and onions. Serve with Grilled Polenta, if you like.
I owe my life to Hitler, though I never met the man. My father was paid to stop Hitler, so there is no conflict of interest. I was given a thunk on the back o' the head by God when I was fifteen, and within a week began to write. I haven't stopped. My first novel was accepted 'over the transom'. My first editor/author luncheon in New York included a naked man with roller skates at the next table. For the sake of research I have lain on Kafka's grave, but I did not weep. I wish upon my own gravestone the phrase "Thank God He Didn't Die A Virgin". There is truth in every truth - so watch out.
My published novels include the popular fantasy A Lost Tale and the thriller The Bonner Deception. I also have two editions of humorous and spiritual short stories, The Elephant Talks to God, which are appreciated by both young and old.
My manuscripts range from stories about unicorns and druids in the 'Passing Through Trilogy' to the 9/11 destruction of New York. I have filled in the missing diaries of Franz Kafka; recounted the first person dementia of a serial killer; explored the outrageous lifestyle of the famous; and listened in while an elephant and God converse. I currently switch my attention between the saga of a family of onion farmers, from Fourth century Italy to the present day, and a contemporary NATO thriller.
I live in Canada and make Nova Scotia my home.
I prefer to travel by train, but embrace the computer age with passion. I am always on the hunt for unique onion recipes.
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