Salad with Liver


When I purchased the book, Alpine Cooking, I knew all of the cheesy recipes would jump out at me, like liptauer. What I didn’t expect to entice me was a beautiful green salad topped with sautéed calf liver and fried onions.

Here are some of my own photos from our family’s time visiting the Alps in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Notice we’ve only been there during the warm months!

I rarely cook liver at home. It’s just the two of us, and the “other” won’t eat liver. So if I make a paté or foie gras, we have one friend and a son-in-law who will join in on the feast. Outside of that happening, I have to eat it all myself.

Occasionally I get a hankering for good ‘ole beef liver, served with onions and eggs. It’s fabulous for breakfast.

In the case of this salad, however, I didn’t mind making it and having it all to myself. At least there was some lettuce involved!

Tyrolean Liver Salad
Tiroler Lebersalat

Crispy onions:
2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 yellow onions, sliced into very thin rings

1/4 cup white balsamic
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound calf liver, but into 3/4” slices
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2/3 cup beef stock
Mixed salad greens (mesclun, baby gem, radicchio) for serving

Line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels. In a heavy pot or a cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until it registers 320 degrees to 340 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (I used my electric deep fryer.) When the oil is at the correct temperature, dredge 1/4 of the onion rings in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess before transferring to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining onions, working in batches.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine both vinegars, the salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and whisk in both oils; set aside. (I just shook the ingredients in a jar.)

Generously season the liver with salt and pepper. In a cast-iron pan over high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Pan-fry the liver slices, turning them over only when you see a nice golden-brown crust forming on the bottom. Stir in the garlic and herbs, followed by the beef stock. Continue to cook over medium heat until the stock has reduced to a sauce consistency and the liver has softened, another minute or so.

Arrange the salad greens on four plates, topping each with a portion of liver.

Spoon the warm dressing over each plate and top with crispy onions. Serve immediately.

The braised liver was tender and very good, surprisingly. I’ve never braised liver, but I also didn’t cook it nearly as long as the recipe suggests.

I served the salads with rye crackers and German Tilsit cheese. Outstanding.

This really is a fun salad. Of course you have to like liver.

I enjoyed the fried onion rings, and included ripe tomatoes just for some color.

And if you’ve never had Tilsit, get some!!!

47 thoughts on “Salad with Liver

  1. What a neat idea for a salad! I like liver; alas, Mrs KR doesn’t. So I never cook it (it’s become a restaurant meal for me, and we’re not going to restaurants these days). This looks wonderful. Thanks.

  2. I do like liver but I rarely make it anymore. It never seems to pop up on my radar but this is an inspiring dish. Thanks for sharing

  3. Same as us, majority of my family lives in Switzerland and I only go there on summer, never been in a winter season. As for the liver we love them, I think once its cooked right, it is easily likable.

    • I prefer my calf liver medium rare, but many people don’t even like their steaks medium rare. Oh well. You’re lucky to be able to go to Switzerland often. It’s so beautiful.

  4. Where were those photos taken, Mimi? I absolutely need to visit there once the pandemic is over. Now as far as the recipe, I have to admit that I’m not a fan of liver. I’ve tried it – it’s just not my jam. But with that said, this recipe does look quite appealing!

    • Upper left is the Dolomites in northern Italy, part of the Alps, the top right it at the top of Jungfraujoch in Switzerland, the waterfall is Interlaken in Switzerland, big lake is in Switzerland, lower left is Austria, I might not have represented beautiful Germany, which was mostly about Bavaria and the Black Forest. What a trip.You must go. The scenery, the food…

  5. We love liver and like you prefer it not to be overcooked. The whole salad sounds fantastic. Tilsit cheese is a great cheese, I love it on a hamburger.
    Have you ever had Quebec pan fried veal liver and onion gravy with hand-cut fries? It was always the first thing I looked for on a menu when I visited Quebec.

    • I’ve never been to Quebec! All of our time in Canada has been on the west coast, but you can bet it’s on our still long bucket list. The dish sounds really reallly good….

  6. First, I have loved liver ever since I was a child. (Weird kid, I know…) When I was 14, I had leberkäse on sald with onions and eggs atop the Zugspitze… It was divine for that weird kid. I haven’t have calves liver in ages, and I need to remedy that. The salad almost makes this healthy! (*almost*) I will report back – am going to try to find the liver this weekend. Most of my shopping is at places that wouldn’t carry it (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods)

    • They don’t sell liver? Huh. What I get is frozen, but the quality is good. Chicken livers aren’t frozen – maybe they’re more popular? You weren’t weird, you’d just fortunately been exposed to great food. What an experience! My birthday request was always puff pastry cups with creamed brains.

  7. Fabulous! It’s a pity liver has become so scarce these days. Or so it seems. Back when I was a kid it was a common thing to eat. These days you really have to seek it out. And totally worth doing so. This sounds like a particularly tasty way to prepare it.

    • It was really seriously a wonderful salad. I don’t know if liver has become scarce, or it’s just not popular…

  8. What an interesting and delicious recipe. I would be the only eating the liver in my house too — but that’s fin by me! My mom made liver and onions all the time when I was growing up. :-) I LOVE how those onions sound and might just be able to snack on them all day. ~Valentina

    • Yeah, more liver for us!!! My mother made all things offal, and I assumed other people grew up eating that way as well. My favorite birthday meal was creamed brains in puff pastry cups!

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