Trattoria Antiche Carampane's Venetian-style liver and onions recipe | The Kitchen

Venetian Style Liver and Onions
Venetian Style Liver and Onions Copyright Antiche Carampane Trattoria
By Antiche Carampane Trattoria
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The Venetians inherited the recipe from the Romans and replaced figs for onions.


Antiche Carampane trattoria_ was opened by Giovanni Battista Bortoluzzi (best known as Nani), and soon after became famous amongst Venetians, travelers, and celebrities alike. Nani’s nephew and Antiche Carampane’s head, Francesco Agopyan, shares with The Kitchen a restaurant staple: Venetian Style Liver and Onions._

Courtesy of the restaurant
Antiche Carampane trattoria in VeniceCourtesy of the restaurant

Venetian Style Liver and Onions

Serves: 4

Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 500 gr. of very fresh veal liver (the color must be bright and purple), cut into strips (thin slices)
  • 500 gr. of white onion, peeled and cleaned, then cut into thin slices
  • 40 gr. of butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.


  1. Set a large pan to medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, just enough to brown them. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add another drizzle of olive oil and increase to high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the liver and brown on all sides (about 4 minutes).
  3. Bring the onions to the same pan, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to combine, always on very high heat, for another 4 minutes.
  4. Now add the butter and toss to combine and serve immediately with two or three slices of grilled yellow polenta (see note).

Pair it with: Il Tai rosso dei Colli Berici (Vicenza) or the Schiopettino of Colli Orientali del Friuli.


Grilled Polenta is an appetizer recipe created recycling polenta leftovers from the previous day. Here's how.

  1. Make the polenta according to package instructions. Once ready, pour it into rectangular silicone molds (or any kind of mold). Let the polenta cool completely in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.
  2. Once firm in the mold, carefully remove the cooled polenta from the container and cut it in tranches with a sharp knife greased with oil.
  3. Now heat a pan with some olive oil to medium-high heat. Once very hot, place the polenta slices until browned on both sides. Serve hot.


The ancient Romans were the first to combine liver with figs, in an effort to cover the strong taste of the meat. Then the Venetians inherited the recipe and replaced the figs with onions, which grew in abundance in the neighboring countryside and in Chioggia, a seaside town south of Venice.

Today the dish represents not only Venice but the whole region of Veneto, to the point that it is also called Veneto-style liver.

The liver must be eaten hot, as soon as it goes out of the pan. Reheating makes the meat hardens. Francesco advises serving the Venetian liver with two or three slices of grilled yellow polenta.

More about Antiche Carampane Trattoria

Antiche Carampane trattoria is famed for its skillfully prepared seafood menu of traditional Venetian recipes. The restaurant has been serving seasonal offerings sourced at the Venetian lagoon and its surroundings since 1983.

Giovanni Battista Bortoluzzi ran the restaurant until 1999 when her cousin Piera took over. Five years later she was joined by her son Francesco Agopyan, who runs the establishment today.

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