Italian Lake Fish

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

From the nets to the pan near Bellagio.

Italy’s Lake Como is not only home to luxurious villas, romantic gardens and holiday resorts. Quaint historic villages dot the shoreline and its waters are inhabited by a multitude of fish, at least 25 species. Lake Como’s fish are a fundamental ingredient of traditional lakeside cuisine. Local ittiturismo (fishing related to a restaurant) brings the fresh catch of the day to the table.

Here is an overview of the main species that inhabit the lake and a menu from one of our favorite restaurants in Italy.

TYPICAL LAKE FISH MENU Salt-dried lake fish with polenta Rice with fried perch fillets, butter and sage Grilled agoni Fried lavarello with butter and sage Agone marinated in vinegar and onion Ravioli di pesce Fritto misto di lago - mixed fried lake fish Grigliata mista di lago - mixed grill of lake fish RISTORTANTE ITTITURISMO “MELLA” SAN GIOVANNI - BELLAGIO, COMO

Missoltini with fried polenta

Missoltini, salted and dried shad (agone), are a speciality of Lake Como. Fresh caught in Lake Como or Garda, they are gutted and cleaned, rubbed in salt and stored in wooden or tin boxes. Afterwards they are washed and dried over the course of several days before being packed in tins. One favorite way to eat missoltini is to wash off the residual salt and grill it for a few minutes, and serve with polenta.

Risotto e pesce persico (photo:

Persico (perch) is found in many lakes in northern Italy including Lake Como. This delicious fish can be enjoyed alone (flavored with butter and sage) or used to prepare a famous regional risotto.

Lavarello burro e salvia

Lavarello, or coregone, is a fresh water European lake fish which is almost completely without bones. One of the best ways to serve with a butter and sage sauce.

Fritto di alborelle (foto:

An alborella is a small silvery-green fish, similar to the agone and delicious served as a fritto misto.

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