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Cappon magro (Seafood and vegetable salad)

  • 2 hours
  • Second Courses
A much-loved Italian fish appetizer typically found in the city of Genoa.
Liguria

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 4 crispy bread croutons
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 ½ tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 7 oz green beans
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 beet
  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 black salsifies
  • 2 lb sea bass
  • 1 lobster
  • 10 scampi
  • 6 oysters
  • 3 ½ oz mushrooms, in oil
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 bread roll
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 salted anchovies
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ oz capers

Preparation:

For the sauce, fill a bowl half with water and the other half with vinegar. Add the bread roll without its crust and let soak. Chop half the anchovy fillets, 1 clove garlic, yolks of 2 hard-boiled eggs, capers and parsley.
Remove the bread from the bowl and squeeze well. Combine bread with the chopped mixture and pass everything through a sieve. Slowly add 1 cup of oil, whisking as you go.

Boil in salted water the cauliflower, French beans, celery, and carrots. Separately boil the potatoes, black salsify, beetroot and artichokes, trimmed and cut in half.

Clean the fish and boil it. Separately, boil the lobster and the langoustines.

Cut the fish into pieces, shell and slice up the lobster and the langoustines and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

On the serving plate, arrange the croutons, rubbed with garlic. Then drizzle a little acidulated water and olive oil on top.

Arrange in alternate layers the vegetables, fish, half medallions of lobster and half langoustines.  Drizzle a little sauce on top.

Finish off with more lobster, langoustines, anchovies, remaining 2 hard-boiled eggs and mushrooms. Pour over the remaining sauce and decorate the edges of the plate with the oysters, open and detached from the shell.

Serve warm.

Food History

The recipe for cappon magro is one of the most elaborate and interesting recipes from Liguria. It is fairly old as well. Served only on the tables of families of fishermen on Christmas Day, this sort of seafood salad probably gets it name from cappone (capon in Italian.) Traditionally on Christmas, wealthy families in Italy serve capon for lunch and this seafood dish can be considered a fisherman’s substitute.
The rich ingredients and elegant presentation of this dish today, however, dates back to the Baroque period when the personal chefs of rich families in Genoa made the dish richer, serving it on days of magro, or the days the Catholic Church said that meat should not be eaten.

Other suggested recipes

This dish is part of our special Christmas menu