I am not really a fan of beef or veal and rarely cook it but I do like liver although I don’t cook that very often either, as it is high in cholesterol. I was craving liver and as it’s been a very long time since I last cooked red meat I decided to cook some, as according to The Mediterranean Diet we can eat it 2 – 3 times a month.
Cows and calves were first domesticated for beef in the regions of Greece and Greek Asia Minor (now Turkey) about 4,000 years ago. It was not only the muscular parts (the meat) of cows and calves that were consumed, but also the organs, including the liver.
Calf’s liver is an exceptionally nutrient-dense food as it is an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin A, copper, folate, riboflavin, and selenium; a very good source of zinc, vitamin C, protein, niacin, and phsophorus; and a good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and iron. Although calf’s liver is also high in cholesterol and saturated fat, its concentration of so many beneficial nutrients makes it an extremely healthful food. Here are some of the most important reasons why individuals who eat meat should make calf’s liver a frequent choice.
- Cardiovascular Benefits
- B Vitamins for Energy
- Cancer Protection
- Protection against Emphysema
- Optimizing Immune Function
- Minerals that Support Energy Production, Bones, Blood Vessels and Colonic Health
You can read more about the properies of calf’s liver here.
Liver is the best food for anemic people as it rises the hematocrit. I know first hand as I was anaemic all my life, having a haematocrit around 25 – 26. I had thalassemia minor or the stigma, as we call it, which is a disease of the blood affecting people living around a certain zone, in the Mediterranean. There is no danger if you have this disease, except that you may need some iron. However, there is a danger if you marry someone who also has thalassemia minor. Then, there is a 25% risk of giving birth to a child with leukemia. Fortunately, in Cyprus it is mandatory for the couples to get blood tests before they get married. My husband was fine, so we had no problems. However, it is a hereditary disease and I had my children tested and one 1 of my 3 children has thlassemia minor.
The liver tasted wonderful and although I wanted to eat more I preferred to eat only one slice. A kilo of liver is about 10 slices as shown in the picture. As I said before liver is high in cholesterol and although the levels of my cholesterol are now perfect without taking medication, I preferred to eat more vegetables, which were also very tasty. In fact there were some leftover veggies, so in the evening I made a toasted sandwich with no butter, added a slice of turkey and low fat cheese and packed it with vegetables. It was one of the most delicious sandwiches I ever ate.
Calf Liver Ladorigani with sautéed vegetables, Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 5 – 6
- 1 kilo calf liver
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup white dry wine
For the marinade
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp thyme
- 5 big button mushrooms
- 1 cup of various bell peppers (red, green, yellow, orange)
- 200 grams spinach
- 1 red onion
- 1 spring onion
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- ½ tsp oregano
- A pinch thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
- A pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
Cut liver into 1 cm slices, or ask your butcher to do this for you. Wash the liver, drain and place it in a bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients and marinate for 1 – 2 hours.
Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sautéing pan. Reserve about a tablespoon of the chopped onion and garlic and sauté the remaining until translucent. Add the liver and sauté on both sides. Add the wine in the remaining marinade to wash out the bowl and deglaze the liver. Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover the sautéing pan, lower heat and cook for about 15 minutes. The liver is medium cooked. If you want it more cooked, add another five or ten minutes.
Meantime boil the rice in water with some salt for 20 minutes and prepare the vegetables.
In a non stick frying pan or sautéing pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the reserved tablespoon mixed onion and garlic, until translucent. Add the spinach and sauté for about five minutes until it wilts. Remove to a platter and add the other tablespoon olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about five minutes and then add the peppers and mix for about 2 minutes. Return the spinach to the frying pan and mix. At this time the frying pan has some juices from the vegetables. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, oregano, thyme and rosemary and cook for about five more minutes until the juices have evaporated.
Sprinkle some parsley and dill and mix and remove from the heat.
Serve with vegetables and rice.