A sunny dish for this rainy day: Zucchini alla scapece

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Oh my . . . how long has it been! So long that I almost feel as intimidated as I was when I wrote my first post. In fact, one of the reason why I haven’t been writing is because I did not know how to come back. I kept thinking: “Am I supposed to explain my absence or just pretend I never left ? “. I felt like a child cheating in school, trying to find a good excuse to explain why I had not completed my homework. I have been debating about the right story or topic to return to my blogging, but nothing felt adequate.

Last month, on my FaceBook page, I posted a photo of a dish I had prepared for dinner, ” zucchini alla scapece“. The kind comments that I received and my subsequent promise to post my recipe gave me  the push I needed to come back. I finally realized that I didn’t need to justify my absence and certainly I did not need a big ‘scoop’ to make a come back. So here I am!

The heat wave of last month reminded me a lot of my summer days in Italy, especially when I was a child. The house would get very warm in the afternoon, my mom would open all the windows to facilitate air circulation which really didn’t help much. Despite the heat, my beautiful mother, wearing her sleeveless dress, her hair gathered into a fancy chignon, and tiny sweat beads trickling down her forehead, would spend many afternoon ” ai fornelli” ( by the stove). While thinking of her and those hot days, the one dish that came to mind were the “zucchini alla scapece“, I could almost smell the oil frying.

I am keeping my promise and here it is is my mother’s recipe of  ‘Zucchini alla scapece’, which is simply fried zucchini, marinated in wine vinegar.

The ‘zucchini alla scapece’ are usually served as ‘antipasto’ (appetizer), however, they are also delicious layered on top of some fresh mozzarella in a sandwich made with focaccia or ciabatta bread. In my family we also like to eat them as side dish.

I must admit that my mother’s original recipe includes an additional step which I have omitted. My mother used to slice the zucchini into roundsnot to thick and not too thin, but just right. She would laid the slices on a large tray covered with a kitchen towel and then she set the tray on a chair on the balcony in the sunshine. The slices of zucchini would dry in the sun and a slight curly edge would form. As a child I really didn’t know why she would do that; Only many years later – when I started to show some interest in cooking – I realized that drying the zucchini prior to frying would prevent them from absorbing too much oil; it would also make them slightly crispy.

My decision to make the zucchini alla scapece came suddenly and in the early evening. I had not time to dry the zucchini in the sunshine, however, I lined a tray with paper towels and I arranged the sliced zucchini on top.  I also sprinkled them with salt to facilitate the releasing of water.  I let the zucchini rest for 30 minutes then patted dry with a kitchen towel.

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I hope the result would have satisfied my mom. It sure satisfied my husband!

Zucchini alla scapece

Cosa serve (What you need):

6 small zucchini sliced  into 1/4 inch thick rounds

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

A small bunch of fresh mint leaves minced plus few whole leaves to garnish

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil for frying

Cosa fare (What to do):

  • The first step is the prep of the zucchini as explained above. Prior to slicing the zucchini, remember to rinse them thoroughly under clod running water, rubbing with your hands to remove any grit.Zucchini alla scapece 3
  • Heat 1/3 cup of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. The oil should be enough to come 1/4 inch up the pan’s sides.
  • When the oil is quite hot, fry the zucchini in one layer, without crowing the pan. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle in contact with the zucchini.

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  • Watch the zucchini and turn them over when they become golden on one side. When they are golden brown on both sides, with a slotted spoon transfer them into a serving bowl.

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  • Drizzle with the vinegar, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, finally add the minced leaves of mint. Gently toss and set aside to cool down at room temperature.
  • Before serving garnish with few leaves of mint.

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It’s a rainy and gloomy day here in Frederick today, I hope this dish will brighten your day.

Which dish reminds you of the summer hot days of your childhood?

Originally posted on Sharing My Italy...The Blog:

This is the last day of My Easter baking marathon, time for the sweet things.

La Pastiera is another traditional dish of the Neapolitan cuisine.

The nuns of the ancient convent of San Gregorio Armeno were considered to be master in the preparation of the Pastiera. They used to prepare great quantities for the rich families during Easter time.

Today, there are two different ways of preparing the Pastiera: the traditional one mixes the ricotta cheese to the eggs; the most recent one, adds to the mix thick pastry cream.

I follow the traditional recipe, I do however, purée half of the wheat/milk mixture to favor a creamier texture.

The Acqua di Millefiori (Literally “ Thousand Flower Water”) is the one ingredient in the Pastiera that gives it its very distinct aroma . . . It truly reminds you that it’s Primavera (Spring)!

The Pastiera has to be…

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Originally posted on Sharing My Italy...The Blog:

The Pizza Piena is a traditional Neapolitan recipe very typical during Easter time. In Naples they call it “Pizza Chienaand it is a must on the Easter Sunday table.

It’s a traditional country pie and, as I mentioned in my previous post, it is called Chiena or Piena (full) because it’s very much stuffed with salami, sheep cheese and eggs.

All the ingredients have a symbolic value: sopressata (type of salami) as symbol of wealth for the farmer’s tables, pecorino (sheep cheese) as symbol of innocence (sheep milk = food of the lamb), ouva (eggs) as symbol of birth and therefore symbol of resurrection. And of course the farina (flour), as bread, prince of the table.

One of the most important ingredient is the fresh sheep cheese, called primo sale (literally “first salt”). The…

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Originally posted on Sharing My Italy...The Blog:

Since Easter is only three days away, this post is probably overdue. Nevertheless, I am sure some of you out there are still looking for traditional Italian Easter recipes.

In the next three days I will share with you one recipe a day: the pizza co’ l’erba, the pizza piena and the pastiera. So, don’t forget to come back to my blog everyday!

NOTE: I am sorry but I don’t have step by step pictures for the recipes. I can only show you few pictures from last year. As I’ll bake in the next few days I might be adding pictures to the post.

Easter baking is not just about the food, it is also about rituals, traditions and timing.

My childhood memories of Pasqua (Easter) are really happy ones. During the weeks heading into this Holiday, my mom would take me shopping for a my new…

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Originally posted on Sharing My Italy...The Blog:

My Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Auguri a tutti i papa` (Best wishes to all of the fathers). Today, March 19th, in Italy we celebrate La Festa del Papa` (Father’s day).

When I was a child, on the afternoon before Father’s Day, my mom and I would go to a nearby field to pick-up the fragrant mammole (violets). The next morning, I would set up a breakfast tray for my dad with the violets nicely gathered in a small glass. A small handcrafted gift and a short letter was usually on the tray as well. This past winter I received, from my brother in Italy, some boxes full of mementos from our mom’s home. In one of the boxes, to my surprise, I found a little red velvet sketch book with a small round cutout window through which you could glimpse a picture of my dad and myself. It was a gift I had…

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sharingmyitaly:

Still time to bake a Torta Caprese for your Valentine!

Originally posted on Sharing My Italy...The Blog:

I am back! I can’t believe this is my first blog in February. Time really flies! I have been busy preparing for the classes that I will be teaching at the end of the month, I have been away with my family for a weekend to celebrate my son’s 21st birthday and . . . I am back on a diet!

What a better occasion to get back on my blog than Valentine’s Day?

San Valentino, “la festa degli innamorati” (the holiday of lovers), this is how in Italy we refer to this holiday. So, forget the diet and let me share with you a decadent dessert that would make your Valentine’s Day even more special.

Not so fast though, first let me tell you something about my Valentine’s Day.

The festivity of San Valentino also coincides with the festivity of San Modestino, which is…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sharing My Italy 2012 in Review

WordPress has compiled a 2012 annual report for my blog so I thought it would be fun to share it with you.

Also, this week Photo Challenge gives me the opportunity to review my first year of blogging through some of my favorite pictures. The first 12 pictures are some of my favorite recipes, the next 24 are pictures from my 2012 trip in Italy, and the last two are . . . you will have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find out!

I want to also take this opportunity to thank everyone that has supported me throughout this year and I wish everyone a New Year 2013 filled with peace, joy, and health.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

My most viewed post for 2012: CALZONI E PANZEROTTI 

Calzoni and Panzerotti

NEAPOLITAN RAGÙ

Neapolitan Ragu`

PESTO TRAPANESE

Maccheroni al Pesto Trapanese

CHIACCHIERE DI CARNEVALE

CHIACCHIERE

EASTER PIZZA PIENA

PIZZA PIENA

ZEPPOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE

ZEPPOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE

POTATO GATTÒ

GATTO` DI PATATE

DELIZIA AL LIMONCELLO

DELIZIA AL LIMONCELLO

PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE

PARMIGIANA

CIAMBELLA DEI SETTE VASETTI

CIAMBELLA

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

EASTER NEAPOLITAN PASTIERA

PASTIERA

IMAGES FROM MY 2012 TRIP IN ITALY

Navigli, MilanoBroletto, Novara

Cantine Marchesi di Barolo

BaroloLake OrtaLake OrtaVeneziaVeneziaGondole, VeneziaBuranoBuranoBuranoTorcelloTorcelloLake ComoLake ComoOrvietoCivita di BagnoregioCivita di BagnoregioCivita di BagnoregioSorrentoAmalfi CoastAmalfi CoastAmalfi Coast

AND MY LAST TWO

my birthday

MY 50TH BIRTHDAY!

And the hightlight of the year . . . My trip to China

The Great Wall, China

THE GREAT WALL!

FELICE ANNO NUOVO!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Related posts:

Lake Como not off the beaten path but still beautiful

Two nights in Venice

A day in Barolo