Pesce del lago in carpione

Marinated freshwater fish

The spectacular lakes of Como, Maggiore and Garda in northern Italy have an abundance of fish, and varieties include pike, trench, eel, carp and trout. There is a local tradition of preserving this fish and a lot of the regional recipes include the method known as "in carpione" (fish preserved by cooking then marinating). This dish is usually served cold and is delicious as both an antipasto (starter) and main course.

Make it yourself 

4 x servings


  • 4 x whole trout, gutted, cleaned & scaled - your fishmonger can do this
  • Salt & pepper
  • Flour for dusting
  • Abundant olive oil
  • 4 x garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 x red chilli, sliced in half lengthways
  • 1 x tin anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 2 x medium-sized carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 x celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 x medium-sized red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 x red peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 x yellow peppers, finely chopped
  • 6 x bay leaves
  • 20 x black olives
  • 2 x tablespoons capers in brine
  • 300ml red wine vinegar
  • 60g sugar
  • 20 x small gherkins, finely chopped


  1. Pat the trout dry with a kitchen cloth, season all over with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and add the trout, frying on both sides for a few minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove and set aside on a large plate.
  2. Heat 130ml of oil in a clean frying pan before adding the garlic, chilli and anchovies, stir frying until the anchovies have dissolved and the garlic is golden. Add the carrots and sweat for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the remaining vegetables, bay leaves, olives & capers and sweat until the vegetables have softened but are still crunchy. Stir in the vinegar and sugar until the vegetables are nicely infused.
  4. Remove from the heat, strain the liquid, pour into a small pan and cook until reduced by half.
  5. Combine the reduced liquid with the vegetables and gherkins; pour over the trout and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold with lots of good bread.
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