Zest and Herbs

Lemon juice-pickled onions with liver

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but for many they can be food related. If you’re looking to try new things, eat more healthily or be more responsible or sustainable in your consumption, this recipe ticks all the boxes. Liver is certainly something to relish for all those reasons. It’s low in fat, rich in nutrients like iron and vitamin A, and it’s a part of the animal that might sooner get thrown away that put to good use for eating. Of course, it often divides opinion – offal is typically either loved or despised.

For some, memories of unpleasant school meals have turned them off liver for life. For others, they find its strong flavour simply unpalatable. I only have positive associations though, which perhaps explains my fondness for the stuff, as homemade chicken liver pâté has been our family’s Christmas breakfast for as long as I can remember so to me, it’s always a bit of a treat. For something so affordable though (about 50p a portion) it makes for an indulgent meal for when I don’t have to consider the preferences of those I’m eating with.

The onions on the side are obvious partners to liver, but I’ve tried to do them in a more modern way to add a bit of crunch and zing to the rich flavour of the liver. I took the idea from an Indian cookbook that does the same thing with lime juice, and instead used lemon juice to soften the raw onion. Even if you don’t like liver, try the onion with any other piece of cooked meat (it would make for a great steak sandwich!).

Lamb's liver with lemon juice pickled onion



  • 1 red onion (you can use white, but they won’t look as pretty and can be a bit harsher)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 15g butter
  • 200g calf’s or lamb’s liver, cut into ½-1 cm thick slices


Peel and halve the onion, and slice it as thinly as possible. Leave to marinate in the lemon juice in the fridge with a pinch of salt and pepper. If you wanted to add any other flavours like chilli or dried spices, include them to infuse with the onion.

In a frying pan, heat the butter until foaming and fry the slices of liver for 30-45 seconds on each side. Once cooked, leave to rest somewhere warm for 1-2 minutes before serving with the onions with some crusty bread or sautéed potatoes.  Serves 2.


2 comments on “Lemon juice-pickled onions with liver

  1. Try a savoury granola, one of the chefs on Great British Menu did that last year – the combination of crunchy oats, nuts and herbs against the soft irony liver is awesome!


    • Simon @ Zest and Herbs
      January 14, 2015

      I think I vaguely remember that one. I’ll definitely have to try it next time, though I can’t say calling it “savoury granola” is the most appetising name in my view!


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This entry was posted on January 14, 2015 by in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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