Zucchine alla Scapece | Ancient Italian Zucchini Side Dish
This minty Neapolitan zucchini dish is very old—some attribute it to the ancient Romans. The drying and frying of the zucchini take a little patience, but it's a very simple dish and well worth the effort! Trust us, this is one of the most delicious vegetable dishes we've ever tried.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
3 medium zucchini
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
5-6 fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
Oil for frying (olive oil is preferred, vegetable oil will work just fine)
3 cloves of garlic; peeled, cored and chopped
Slice the zucchini into thin discs. It's important that they're very dry. To achieve this, lay them flat on a clean towel. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and let them dry at room temperature for about an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare a simple marinade by combining the vinegar and mint. Let it rest while you cook the zucchini.
Fill a large, deep pan with about 2 inches of oil and bring up to medium temperature on a stovetop. When the oil is hot, test it by dropping in a single slice of zucchini. If it begins to bubble and fry immediately, the oil is ready! Working in batches, drop in the zucchini slices but be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Stir and flip them occasionally, and remove them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel when they begin to turn golden. Repeat until all of the zucchini is fried.
The dish is assembled by layering zucchini slices in a dish; we found that a flat-bottomed bowl with about a 6-inch diameter worked well but you can easily adapt with what you have. Keep in mind that the finished result should be about 2-3 inches tall.
Assemble a single layer of zucchini in the bottom of the dish, overlapping the slices slightly. Sprinkle this with a bit of chopped garlic and a pinch of salt (taste the fried zucchini, you may want to add more or less salt depending on how much you salted them to dry). Repeat these layers until all the zucchini is used up.
Finally, pour the mint/vinegar marinade over all. Cover and let the zucchini marinate for at least 3 hours (12 is better!). Drain the excess marinade before serving.