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Top 5 Mamma's Napoli Recipes - Zucchini A Scapece

Updated on May 25, 2009

Napoli was not at all unlike the Balkans: It was a crossroads of the Mediterranean and waves of successive invaders have left their mark upon the language, culture and cuisine of the region.

While the Gatto' is French in name and most certainly Marsillian in roots, the French were not the only rulers of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies who resided in the Neapolitan castles. The Spanish had their turn as well, and they left some memorable keystones of modern Neapolitan culture behind them. In my humble opinion I believe that Zucchini A Scapece has to be one of the greatest of all!

There is no way that you can be prepared for what the heck Zucchini A Scapece actually is. To state that it is the single most delicious vegetable dish you'll ever eat does a disservice to its grandeur. Let it suffice to say that once you have taken a couple of huge forkfuls of Zucchini A Scapece, plunked them onto two slices of hot, crusty, original southern Italian bread (make sure that it's not that tasteless, saltless Tuscan bread which is likely the worst bread on earth and not even worthy of the name bread), and stuffed it into your drooling mouth, you will have to agree that every other sandwich on the planet has just gone down a notch as there's a new king in town: The Zucchini A Scapece Sandwich!

Make sure to completely disregard the other Zucchini A Scapece recipes on the web. I've read dozens of them and they're all completely insane. Mamma would spit those ones right out! I truly wonder whether some of the authors of the web sites I've read have not only ever eaten true Zucchini A Scapece, or if they've even seen Italy on anything other than the Travel Channel. Their recipes are completely atrocious. First of all they call for way too little garlic, way too little mint, and an outrageously tiny amount of vinegar which in most cases is not even specified to be balsamic. Yes, I know that the predominantly impoverished Neapolitans did not use balsamic vinegar instead opting for the much cheaper and readily available red wine vinegar, but this is Mamma's recipe, and we were anything but poor. If you swap out the balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar, the Zucchini A Scapece becomes far too tart and acidic, ruining the delicate balance of the dish. The true Zucchini A Scapece is literally floating in a rich, heady, musky mixture of its own frying juices and the gorgeous balsamic vinegar. To do anything else is to mutilate the dish!

Preparing the Zucchini A Scapece is paradoxical at best. The amounts just seem way too huge for what you're going to end up with, but don't worry. Follow Mamma's recipe precisely and you can't go wrong!

There's only four simple ingredients:

8 pounds sliced zucchini
6 ounces medium aged balsamic vinegar
1 large bunch fresh mint
1 large bulb of garlic

Ready to make Zucchini A Scapece? Here we go!

First take 8 pounds of firm, fresh, full sized zucchini. Yes, I didn't say 8 ounces, I said 8 pounds. No, you're not making enough to feed everyone in the stands at Naples' San Paolo soccer stadium... just do it and then tell me if it's not the perfect amount.

Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut into approximately quarter inch slices. Now take about an ounce of extra virgin olive oil (personally I don't agree that E V O O should be used for frying as vegetable oil is better... but we are honoring Mamma's traditions here) and pour it into a very large hot skillet. Hot pan, cold oil. Remember that.

Now dump about a third of the huge mound of sliced zucchini into the pan. Don't you dare cover it or the result will be gray mush. Keep the heat on high and sear the zucchini until about a quarter of them are almost brownish-black and the rest have wilted down to some degree. Now dump the whole thing into a big metal bowl. Wait for a minute and pour out most of the juices which have collected at the bottom of the bowl back into the pan and dump in another third of your zucchini mountain. Do the same thing and repeat with the last third, however at the very end leave the juices in the bowl.

Take a large bulb of garlic. Again, let's be very clear. A bulb. Not a clove. Dice up the whole bulb rather finely. Mamma throws the garlic into bowl raw, but one tiny consideration that I take for my own taste is to lightly sautee it first. Either way, it's delicious. now that the garlic is in the bowl with salt and freshly ground pepper and gently tossed a bit, leave it uncovered in the bowl on the counter and go do something else for at least an hour. You don't want to touch the mixture again until it's very close to room temperature.

Now go back into the kitchen and grab a large bunch of fresh mint. Yes a large bunch, one that it takes two hands to hold on to. Remove all the stems and chiffonade (slice thinly) all the leaves. Toss that into the bowl.

It's time for the piece de resistance. Find the best balsamic vinegar in your local market which is not older than about 4 to 5 years. The really expensive stuff is too mellow and doesn't have the acidic bite that Zucchini A Scapece needs. Now pour in 6 ounces of the stuff. Yes, I know you think it's too much vinegar. Don't worry about it.

Give it a very gentle fold so that you don't crush the delicate zucchini slices, then leave it on the countertop preferably uncovered overnight. If you can resist the incredible aroma, that is.

The next day grab some heaping helpings, stuff between the best, freshest crusty Italian bread you can find, and come back to this Hub page to inform me in the Comments that this is, indeed, the single greatest culinary sensation of your life!

Oh, and you want the last and truly irresistible reason to gobble down as much Zucchini A Scapece as you can? Not only is it a fully vegan recipe, but it's so low in calories you can eat all you want!

Check out all of Mamma's Top 5 Recipes From Napoli:

Top 5 Mamma's Napoli Recipes - Gatto'
Top 5 Mamma's Napoli Recipes - Zucchini A Scapece
Top 5 Mamma's Napoli Recipes - Eggplant Parmesan
Top 5 Mamma's Napoli Recipes - Rice Sartu'
Top 5 Mamma's Napoli Recipes - Ragu' Sauce

And check out these other scrumptious Italian recipes!

The Secret To Making The Best Braciole On Earth
The Greatest Pasta Sauce You've Never Tasted
The Largest, Most Delicious Sandwich Ever
The Amazing Unforgettable Istrian Cabbage Roll Lasagna
Rose Petal Risotto: The Most Romantic Lunch On Earth
Learn How To Make Pizza From The World's Best
San Gennaro's Real Miracle: Sausage And Pepper On A Bun
Settling It Forever: Where Is The World's Best Pizza


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      6 years ago

      Ehm... There are not 4 ingredients in this dish. But 5!


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