Yep, liver and onions. It’s a meal that for many bring bad memories of childhood. You know, the kind of meal where those children with dogs begging for scraps next to the table felt blessed. (So did the dogs!) For my husband and I, though, it’s a bit of a different story.
We love liver and onions.
We both ate this often growing up. I imagine it was because liver was a cheap source of vitamin-rich protein. (Still is!) As we grew older, when we occasionally visited that mecca of a cafeteria known around these parts as Luby’s (which, to be clear, is nowhere near as tasty as I remember it when I was a child), one of the favorites to order was the liver and onions. (Next to the macaroni and cheese, of course!) I’m glad to share this craving with someone else in our home, because, when prepared correctly, it is indeed delicious!
When searching for liver at the grocery, you should look for calves’ liver, which is milder and less bitter than beef liver. You should also try to look for naturally-raised when possible. It may be found in the frozen section, but you can ask the guy at the meat counter, and he should be able to direct you. If you have a butcher that you have become acquainted with, take this opportunity to ask for liver there – it’s more likely you’ll be able to obtain some thick slices and the liver will be of high quality. Thicker slices mean it’s less likely to overcook, giving you tender and flavorful liver.
Liver and Onions, inspired by Luby’s restaurant, converted to gluten-free
2 lbs calves liver (sliced 1/2 inch thick if you can find it – I found some at Sprouts)
2 T butter
1 large onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 c milk
2 egg whites (or 1 egg)
1/2 c gluten-free breadcrumbs
2 c gluten-free flour blend (I used Pamela’s bread flour)
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 T canola oil
Soak liver in cold, salted water for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add onion, stirring occasionally, and cook until tender and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Rinse liver with cool running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together milk and egg whites until well-blended. In another shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and flour mix, and season with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in the skillet to medium heat. Dip each piece into the milk mixture, and then dredge through the flour/crumb mixture. Place a few pieces at a time into the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. (Don’t over-cook or liver will become tough.)
Top with onions.