Scapece, pronounced Ska-pe-ce, it’s a famous traditional neapolitan side dish and it’s basically made with courgettes, garlic, fresh mint leaves, all soaked in vinegar.
The name comes from the word ‘Escabeche’, a Spanish term for any dish marinated in vinegar after cooking.
The Neapolitan tradition wants these courgettes to be dried in the sun before being fried as grannies used to do by leaving them on a dishcloths in the sun. Nowadays it’s quite hardly anyone still does it, but if you have time, a lot of sun available and a balcony or terrace, it’s worth a try, definitely.
The typical courgettes used for this dish are the striped ones, they are properly called Italian Striped Courgettes, but the non-striped ones will be great anyway!
Serves 4, Preparation time 15 mins, Cooking time about 40 mins + minimum 1 h rest
- 1 kg of striped courgettes / zucchini
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 l of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 glass of white wine vinegar
- 7-8 fresh mint leaves, both minced and whole
- a pinch of salt
Wash and dry the zucchini thoroughly. Remove the ends and cut them into round or oval slices about 4 mm thick.
Tip: if you want to try the traditional method by drying them in the hot sun, leave them on a dish towel in the sun for about a couple of hours, or sprinkle them with a little salt and let them dry on the work surface. The zucchini will be ready to be fried once they have taken on a slightly “withered” appearance.
Heat the Evoo in a pan with rather high edges over high heat. Dip the courgette rounds a few at a time or you’ll low the oil heat, let them frying and take off them when they are well gilded.
Lay them on absorbent paper for a while, so that they lose the excess oil.
Prepare the marinade in a bowl by combining the vinegar and chopped mint, leave a couple whole. Cut garlic cloves into very thin flakes or little pieces – as you prefer.
Place the first layer of zucchini in a dish, season with some garlic flakes and a little marinade. Arrange a second courgettes layer and keep doing like this until the ingredients are finished.
Leave to rest for at least one hour before serving. The more you leave them into marinade, the more they will get flavour.