Christmas in Camogli and the Cappon Magro
Cappon magro is an elaborate and rich Genoese salad of seafood and vegetables over hard tack arranged into a decorative pyramid and dressed with a rich sauce.
The foundation of a cappon magro is a layer of hard tack biscuits (“gallette”) rubbed with garlic and soaked in seawater and vinegar. Then a pyramid is built up layer by layer.
Each layer may consist of one or many vegetables, fishes, or seafood. All recipes include boiled white fish, a lobster, green beans, celery, carrots, beets, and potatoes. Some authorities insist that black salsify is essential. Other seafood and vegetables may also be included. Each ingredient is boiled separately, cut up, and seasoned with oil and vinegar. Each layer is dressed with a sort of cross between salsa verde and mayonnaise; it consists of parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies, the yolks of hard-boiled eggs, and green olives ground together in a mortar with olive oil and vinegar. The pyramid is topped with a lobster capped with its coral. The sides of the pyramid are garnished with green olives, botargo, capers, anchovy filets, crayfish, artichokes, and quartered hard-boiled eggs