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How are missoltini with polenta prepared?

Missoltini with polenta

Missoltini with polenta are a typical product of Como cuisine of very ancient origins. Here is the recipe for this fish main course.

Dried missoltini are a typical Como recipe prepared since the Middle Ages . They are obtained by drying shad, a freshwater fish typical of Lake Como. Originally this fish, caught on the stony seabed between June and July, was then dried in the sun so that it could be preserved throughout the year. Today the technique has changed but we have never stopped preparing missoltini with polenta, an unmissable dish in restaurants in the area.

Inserted in the list of Traditional Agri-Food Products , shads of medium-small size are used to prepare missoltini. In fact, the larger ones are called bastard in the local dialect and are too thorny to be used.

Missoltini with polenta
Missoltini with polenta

How to prepare the recipe for missoltini with polenta

  1. First, bring the water to the boil with a handful of coarse salt. Then pour in the corn flour little at a time, mixing with a kitchen whisk to avoid the formation of lumps.
  2. Adjust the heat so that the polenta just simmers and start cooking. It will take approximately 45 minutes .
  3. In the meantime, focus on dried and salted fish. Wash the missoltini in a bowl of acidulated water with a few tablespoons of wine vinegar to remove part of their salty flavor and the fat that covers them.
  4. Heat a grill or non-stick pan and cook the missoltini for 2 minutes per side.
  5. Then, with the help of a knife, scrape the scales . You can decide to cut them in half and remove the bones (and the head) or serve them whole with the addition of a few teaspoons of emulsion made with extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar.
  6. Serve the missoltini hot with the polenta. If desired, the latter can be prepared in advance and grilled.

Another way to serve this typical Italian dish is to let the cooked polenta cool completely, cut it into pieces and toast it in the grill or pan in which you have heated the fish. First place the slices of polenta on the plate and then the hot missoltini, finally serve.

Take a look at all our tips for preparing a perfect polenta . Since it is a simple dish, it deserves some extra attention!

Read also
Polenta and renga: the recipe of the Veronese peasant tradition


You can keep the missoltini with polenta in the refrigerator , covered in cling film, for 2-3 days . Reheat them in a pan before consuming them.

What are missoltini

The missoltini are the fish from Lake Como , the shad, which are dried and salted through a rather complex process. These freshwater fish require careful preparation: they must be dried in special ovens, controlled to ensure maximum hygiene . This modern method replaces traditional sun drying, ensuring the health and organoleptic integrity of the product.

Once dried, the fish were placed in misolta , a wooden or tin container , along with bay leaves. A heavy lid, sometimes weighed with stones, compressed them to eliminate air and any oil that may have escaped.

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