Italian Regional Recipes Piemonte Starters

Pesce Finto, Piedmontese Potato and Tuna Mousse

Pesce Finto, ‘Fake Fish’ is basically a tuna and potato mousse in the shape of a fish, cheap and easy to prepare for a starter, often paired with some crackers or bread or breadsticks.
It doesn’t take too long to make it and you can give free rein to your creativity by choosing what to garnish it with and what fish shape to give it, it’s also funny to make this with children. This recipe is originally from Piedmont in the North of Italy, but it is widely used throughout Italy, especially in summer, even if you can also find it as a Christmas starter.

Serves 6, Preparation 20 mins, Cooking time about 25-30 mins + a couple of hours in the fridge

  • 600 g potatoes
  • 300 g tinned tuna in olive oil
  • 40 g pickled gherkins
  • 30 g desalted capers
  • 3 anchovy fillets, optional but highly recommended
  • Mayonnaise or mustard, to taste
  • Salt, a pinch


Boil the potatoes with their skins on until soft, then peel and mash them in a potato masher.
In a blender, chop the tuna, capers and gherkins until smooth. Add it to the mashed potatoes, add mayonnaise or mustard and mix, tasting and adding salt if necessary.
Form the fish patty with your hands directly on the serving plate.
With a knife, create the scales.
You can use an olive or caper for the eye or add pickled radishes or gherkins to create fish scales or thinly cut strips of carrot to create a clown fish. As you prefer.
Pesce Finto needs to rest for a few hours in the refrigerator to take consistency.

Serve it cold.

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