A classic German comfort dish perfect for a chilly day
Fried food meets pickled food in this incredible Italian dish. For all of my series, I love wrapping up with a showstopper or a truly unique submission. Luckily, this one fits the bill. In my recent series, I’ve been exploring how people from across the globe eat zucchini. The perfect conclusion to this series is the fried and pickled zucchini delicacy: Scapece.
I was surprised to find this submission for an Italian dish from a mother-daughter-duo in Suffolk in East Anglia in the United Kingdom. However, for Rosita and her daughter Vita, Scapece dates back to their family’s origins in Campagna in the south of Italy. There, zucchini quickly and easily grows, so the southern Italians created an easy and delicious way to make use of all of that squash. And so, Scapece was born.
When Rosita and Vita’s family migrated to the United Kingdom, they brought their love for Scapece with them. Rosita’s father was dedicated to growing fresh zucchini in their backyard that Rosita’s mother would then turn into Scapece in the summer. For Rosita, it was such a special dish and felt like a family secret, since no one else in the area cooked it. Once Rosita had kids, she wanted to carry on the tradition and encouraged her children to help pick and chop the zucchini. Now, Vita proudly brings zucchini to her grandmother and prepares Scapece just for her.
The process for making Scapece involves two main steps: frying and pickling. The small zucchini are cut into coins and then lightly pan-fried until golden brown. Then, it’s time to pickle. The fried zucchini are left to pickle in a combination of olive oil, white wine, garlic, and mint. Thankfully, Scapece is a quick pickle, so you won’t have to wait too long to dig in. Once everything has properly pickled, add a dash of salt right before eating. Rosita and Vita were also very clear that Scapece should always be eaten at room temperature for the best experience.
Scapece is really reshaping my definition of what a pickle can be. The fried outside of the zucchini has a sweet, caramelized flavor that’s balanced out by the briney sourness of the interior and the aromatics of the mint. Scapece is a wonderful celebration of summer squash, summer flavors, and family traditions.
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