Liver in Sweet & Sour Sauce

(“Fegato all’Agrodolce” – “Ficatu ca’ Acitu”)


I loved this dish and my mother made it for me very often.
Liver is high in cholesterol but by adding a lot of garlic and vinegar my mother firmly believed that she would neutralize the cholesterol and this delectable dish would not harm me in any way.
I must confess that my gluttony made me believe the alibi of the garlic and vinegar, and since there is a frail possibility and a slight logic to this tale, I related these details whenever the occasion arose. But on a serious note, it is true that garlic and vinegar supply elements useful in lowering blood’s cholesterol. 
The more expensive young calf liver is preferred over beef liver. Calf liver is more tender, than beef liver.
Beef liver which comes from an older animal is leathery and it may have an unwanted characteristic, which would change the liver’s taste and nutritional value.
It is easy to distinguish between calf and beef liver; in fact, beef liver has a dark, brownish red color and a sharp odor, while calf liver is a light pinkish brown color and it has a mild smell.


Serves 4



  • 1 ½ lb. of calf liver, sliced thin
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
  • 4 stems of fresh mint or 1 teaspoon of dry mint
  • salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs or flour to coat liver


Note: Breadcrumbs are preferred in the western part of Sicily; whereas flour is preferred in the eastern side.


                             Raw Veal Liver



The Liver
Dredge both sides of sliced liver in breadcrumbs, lightly pounding it, or dredge  both sides of sliced liver in flour and shake to remove excess flour.                  
Heat ¼ cup of oil and fry liver on each side for 4 to 5 minutes, or until done.
Do not to overcook it.
Set fried liver on serving dish and season with mint, salt and pepper.

The Sauce
Heat remaining ¼ cup of oil, add garlic and sauté until brown. 
Remove from heat and carefully add vinegar and sugar. 
If you used the breadcrumbs to fry the liver add 3 or 4 tablespoons of water.
Reduce vinegar and sugar mixture for 2 minutes and pour on top of liver.

Garlic can be substituted with 2 sautéed sliced onions.

                       Liver Sweet-Sour