Going to Venice and not tasting the Venetian liver would be a bit like coming to Liguria, to us, and not tasting pesto! The liver in Latin was indicated with the name of iecur. Apicius, in Ancient Rome, used to feed animals (especially pigs and geese) with figs to ensure that the liver fattened excessively: so the name “iecur ficatum” (liver with figs) then it became only ficatum and then transformed into a liver. The wise Venetians replaced figs with sio’le (onions), common in the lagoon, and which managed to dampen the taste of the liver just as well as figs. Tradition would like pork liver, today beef liver is more commonly used, with a less strong taste.
Tempo di preparazione5 Minuti
Tempo di cottura40 Minuti
Metodo di cotturaFornello
600 liver (pork or veal) 2 White onions (better from Chioggia) 50 g Butter q.b Extra virgin olive oil q.b.Parsley q.b. salt pepper q.b. White wine vinegar (optional)
Wash and dry the parsley, chop it.
Cut the onions into thin slices.
Put a pan on the heat and add oil and butter.
When the fats are frying, add the parsley and onions, a little vinegar (if using it), mix, cover with the lid and cook over low fire for about 35 / 40 minutes.
Then add the liver, raise the fire, mix and add a few spoonfuls of broth if necessary.
When the liver is cooked (about 5 minutes), remove the pan from the heat.
Season with salt.
The secret of the preparation is in the slow cooking of the onion, which must become almost creamy.
Tip: Heated liver tends to become hard, stringy, and bitter.
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To learn more about Antica Roma gastronomy here is the book: “Ancient Roman cuisine” with Latin text facing (Italian) by Marco Apicius.