May 22, 2010

Zucchine alla scapece recipe

This recipe of Spanish origin (escabeche––the term that Neapolitans under Spanish domination in the 18th century twisted into scapece––means 'pickle' in standard Castilian) is one of Napoli's signature vegetable dishes. These zingy zucchini, known in Rome's Jewish quarter as concia, are commonly served as antipasto or as a side dish. Ideal along side grilled meats, zucchine alla scapece's primary characteristic is the mint-scented vinegar marinade they are steeped in.

I like to pair mine with fresh mozzarella di bufala and lots of warm crusty bread.

500 g (1.1 lb) fresh zucchine (preferably the ribbed "Romanesche" variety)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh mint
A bunch of fresh basil
Peperoncino flakes (optional)
Vegetable oil for frying

Soak the zucchine in water and baking soda to rid them of any chemicals or field dirt. Rinse well several times and pat dry. Thinly slice in discs and fry them in abundant oil in small batches, so that the oil doesn’t cool down.

As they begin to darken while frying, fish them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl without blotting away the grease.

Marinade the fried zucchini in olive oil, vinegar, garlic and herbs directly in the serving bowl.

Season to taste and let the marinade sit overnight. It is common Neapolitan (and Spanish) knowledge that the zucchini benefit of the intensity of the 'scapece flavor in direct proportion to how long they steep in the marinade.


  1. These are so easy to grow it is good to have many ways to serve them.
    Do you marinade them in the fridge or on the counter?

  2. just imaigining the smell...

    hope you are having a wonderful saturday!

  3. This sounds delicious and even I can make it lol!
    Thanks for showing us all the dishes you prepare!
    Pattee: )

  4. LoriE~ thanks for pointing this out! On the counter, and then never store them in the fridge.
    Brian~ Oh you have no idea... divine.
    Pattee~ Thank you for visiting! Please make this and report back :)


  5. This looks so good, I love zucchini!

  6. Gosh that looks good... If I was rich could you be hired to be our cook ? Or at least to come and give the cook lessons ?

    Ha ! The day we have a cook... not likely...

    Guess I'll just have to show this to la Grenouille and see if she can reproduce it... she is far more talented than I with these things...

  7. wow - this is quite unique --- in Greece they fry zucchini and eggplant a lot but i've never seen it marinated afterwards - can't wait to try it!!

  8. yum yum yum, yummy yum!
    I'm going to try this for dinner tonight

  9. A sweet hello from Frog Hollow Farm! This looks fantastic - we never know what to do with all the zucchine we sometimes get from one very, very prolific plant. It will definitely be part of one of my aperitivos! Ciao, bella!

  10. This was a recipe I completely forgot about; my nonna used to make something like it. It will be very useful when our Massachusetts gardens start to overflow with zucchini -- thanks!
    Jude from Cape Cod

  11. This sounds quite delicious. Thanks for the room temperature clarification.

  12. ChuckC~ Me too, can you tell?!
    Owen~ Funny you should mention that, as I have recently started hosting cooking classes! And house calls too. Check out the index under my header photo...
    Amanda~ Please let me know when you do prepare it!
    Janet~ ...slurp! yum dee yum yum...
    FHFG~ You are so lucky! Zucchini plants are also very pretty to look at!
    Jude~ Ciao Giuditta, welcome to my little kitchen! My nonna was from Piemonte so this recipe comes from my grandfather's Neapolitan side. Where are your Italian roots from?
    ChuckP~ Happy to oblige, my friend.

  13. Oh my. Buonissimo! These look so tasty indeed.

  14. Robin~ Thanks for your visit! They are, and soooo versatile. Perfect with a glass of chilled Falanghina too... ;)

  15. Ciao Eleonora,
    1st time poster, ♥ ♥ ♥ your blog!!
    I was just wondering if you could use any other type of veggie besides zucchine? Not that I don't love zucchine but the receipe for the 'scapece sounds amazing, plus with the addition of the mozzarella di buffalo and bread....divine!!! ☺

  16. Ah! An excellent reason to plant zucchini in our newly dug garden bed. We have the mint ready and waiting. I will definitely save this recipe for future consultation! Grazie.

  17. Beti~ Actually yes, any absorban vegetable can work, like squash, pumpkin, aubergine... a myriad of yummy possibilities!
    Louciao~ Great! Let me know how it turns out!!

  18. Thank you for saying you marinated this on the counter. My mom would have, and I always do too. Americans think everything has to be refrigerated immediately. I would be tempted to add a little sugar to the vinegar.

  19. Joe~ I know, it's a lost battle trying to keep the bufala OUT of the cold when I visit family in California...

    Adding sugar, you say. The sweetness of the zucchini actually does the trick, but it could be a good tip in case of less tasty fruits. Thanks for the pointer!

  20. Hi Eleonora
    Lovely post as always.
    Many thanks for your comment left on my blog today.
    I am flattered as I regard your site as the best I follow.
    Stefano :-)

  21. I planted five zucchini plants this year. Too much, I know, but aren`t they good? My neighbours always ask me for a share, too.
    How are you, Lola? No news lately!

  22. Ok, of the twenty plus blogs I follow you have been elevated to the top! My mother in law lived in rome for 10 years and is tired of me picking her brain for ideas....thanks for sharing you;ve given much inspiriation!

  23. Rosaria~ ah the pleasures of "scarpetta" :)
    Stefano~ I am blushing! Grazie
    Geli~ Never too many zucchini! In Italy we say "no news, good news"...
    Kvollet~ Thanks, you flatter me! Come by whenever you like, there's always something exciting simmering on the stovetop. Ciao

  24. I love the zucchine in scapece! It's so summery! We actually serve it in the restaurant now with baccalĂ  and a piccante tomato sauce. Yummy!

    Hope you're well!

  25. John~ I have to get my a** over to Antico Arco soon, how about next week?
    Thanks for the comment! Ciao