Savoring Sicily: Exploring the Melanzane Scapece and its Arab heritage.

You know at Three Farms Island, we’re dedicated to celebrating the culinary heritage of Sicily and south of Italy in general. This recipe finds its contamination with Spain due the Arabs with its invasion around 1.000 DC.

With the sauce called escabeche from “iskebegh” or al-skepaj (السكباج), the name of a popular meat dish cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, usually containing vinegar and honey or date molasses, it ‘s often used for savor fish but in Sicily and in the south of Italy is used a lot for vegetables backing part of the culinary heritage of south of Italy.

Food Preservation: A Culinary Tradition

In the realm of traditional farming practices, food preservation, an art predating the advent of refrigeration and modern food processing, is intricately interwoven with the kitchen.

Escabeche sauce, known as “scapece” in Italian, was primarily a means of preserving food. Simultaneously, it served as a method to enhance the flavor of dishes, especially when dealing with ingredients that might have been excessively robust or not particularly flavorful on their own.

Most popular dishes using scapece sauce in South of Italy

  1. Scapece di Melanzane: Thinly sliced and fried eggplant rounds, marinated in a zesty escabeche sauce.
  2. Scapece di Pesce: Especially in a region of Puglia named Salento, fish, often small whole fish or fish fillets, fried and marinated in the scapece sauce.
  3. Scapece di Zucchine: Very popular in Campania, zucchini slices, typically fried and pickled in the scapece sauce.
  4. Scapece di Cipolle: Scapece made with onions, offering a unique twist on the traditional recipe.
  5. Scapece di Peperoni: Roasted and marinated bell peppers, creating a sweet and tangy dish.
  6. Scapece di Funghi: A delightful dish using fried mushrooms marinated in scapece sauce.
  7. Scapece di Seppie: Scapece prepared with cuttlefish, offering a taste of the sea with a touch of acidity.

“Mulingiani Arrustuti” in scapece, the recipe

Mulingiani, this the sicilian word for the italian Melanzane (something about this different in the history of Parmigiana article) “arrustuti”, meaning grilled,

Easy recipe, ingredients:

  • 0.5 Kg aubergine/eggplant
  • 40ml Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 40ml Winegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 table spoon honey
  • Some fresh Mint leaves

Preparation of Grilled Eggplant Scapece:

  1. Peel and Slice the Eggplants: Begin by peeling the eggplants and slicing them to a thickness of approximately 0.5 cm using a mandolin slicer.
  2. Grill the Eggplant Slices: Grill the eggplant slices until they are tender and slightly charred. It’s important to keep them covered after grilling to trap the steam and maintain their soft texture.
  3. Prepare the Scapece Sauce: In a jar, prepare the scapece sauce by combining finely chopped garlic with olive oil, vinegar, and honey. Mix these ingredients vigorously.
  4. Combine the Eggplants and Scapece Sauce: After a few minutes, add the grilled eggplant slices to the scapece sauce in the jar. Ensure that the eggplants are well-coated with the sauce.
  5. Marinate the Mixture: Allow the eggplants and scapece sauce to marinate together in the jar for several hours, as shown in the photo. Periodically, give the jar a gentle shake.
  6. Serve with Fresh Mint: When ready to serve, top the dish with finely chopped fresh mint for a burst of flavor and freshness.

Enjoy your Grilled Eggplant Scapece – a delightful and flavorful Sicilian dish!