In the 1970s there was a terrific diner in the hard-hat area of San Francisco that served grilled calves liver steaks about 3/4 inch thick with gobs of sautéed onions, horseradish sauce and mashed potatoes. I still remember the succulent caramelized flavor on the outside and the moist, tenderness on the inside of that medium-rare liver steak. This was he-man food for construction crews. It definitely wasn’t that shoe-leather that Mom cooked with heavy gravy that could only be masked with lots of French’s mustard. But after all, liver is a good source of protein and iron and easy on the pocketbook so back in the day liver for dinner once or twice a month was not uncommon.
Over the years I’ve developed this flash method of sautéing liver and onions with a bit of lemon juice, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some sage. It’s very similar to the Tuscan and Venetian style of preparing liver. The acid of the lemon removes the gaminess of the liver and the Worcestershire sauce adds a little kick. Served with polenta and garnished with garlic chives this is lighter in calories yet still filling. The secret to tender liver is thin slices, flash-fried and rested while the onions sauté and you make polenta. Dinner is ready in 30 minutes easily.