Skip to main content

Cappon magro

Cappon magro

The recipe for cappon magro, a traditional Ligurian fish and vegetable dish, has popular origins: a complete and nutritious meal, it was eaten by fishermen and servants. In economically difficult times, characterised by famine, this dish replaced capon, a dish that was originally more expensive. Its name may derive from this circumstance.

Today, cappon magro is a much sought-after dish, difficult to prepare, found on Genoese tables mainly at Christmas and New Year. A true triumph of Genoese cuisine.

If you are looking for a unique gastronomic experience during your holiday in Genoa, cappon magro is definitely an excellent choice. You will be able to taste a historical dish and enjoy the the flavours of the sea and land in a single course.


One day before cooking the cappon magro, prepare the salsa verde (keep it slightly more liquid than normal), so that it rests in the fridge for 24 hours. Boil the cleaned fish in boiling salted water, drain and strip it, taking care to remove all the bones. Then season with oil, salt and a little lemon juice and set aside. While you are hardening the eggs, prepare the vegetables: clean them, wash them and boil them (each separately!) "al dente" in salted boiling water. Drain them, cut them into slices or cubes, as you prefer, and season them (always keeping them separate) with oil, salt and a little vinegar. Set the seasoned vegetables aside and start cooking the crustaceans and molluscs for decoration, still separately. Drain them and set them aside as well. You will have to proceed by creating a sequence of layers all alternating with the green sauce: the base should be galettes soaked in water and vinegar with the fish on top, but try to choose a chromatic order for the vegetables so that the final effect is pleasing. Once you have finished the layers (but be careful with the height, there is a risk of collapsing!) cover one last time with salsa verde and begin to decorate according to your fancy, placing the crayfish or lobster in the centre, then refrigerate until serving (at least 12 hours).

A few tips

Be careful not to over-boil the vegetables and fish, otherwise they will lose their colours (the whole scenic effect will suffer) and they will not be firm enough to 'hold' the construction! Drain everything very carefully and do not overdo the seasoning. Tradition forbids the use of mayonnaise or jelly.


  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 red beetroot
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 4 artichokes from Albenga
  • 8 carrots
  • 350 g of scorzonera
  • 1 white flesh fish of approx. 1 kg (sea bass, dentex, capon, hake or others)
  • 250 g sailor's gallette
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • plenty of Genovese green sauce

For the decoration

  • 1 lobster or lobster, crustaceans and molluscs to taste (red prawns from Santa Margherita Ligure are highly recommended)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • green or black olives (according to taste)

Typical product:

Mistura di pesce