This typical dish from the Puglian city of Gallipoli has a truly refined flavour and aroma.

Ingredients (serves 4) :

800 g oily fish: anchovies or sardines
1 kg bread
1 l vinegar
1 l sunflower oil
3 sachet saffron


Coat the fish carefully in flour without removing the bones. Cook the fish in plenty of hot oil until golden, then drain and place on absorbent kitchen paper to cool. Mix the saffron and vinegar well in a separate dish. Remove the breadcrumb and place in a dish, then pour the vinegar and saffron over it and leave to stand for a few minutes. Use a high-sided dish and cover the bottom with a layer of bread and vinegar, then a fairly thin layer of fish. Continue alternating layers of bread and fish until the ingredients are finished. Allow the scapece gallipolina to marinate for at least 24 hours before serving.


Recipes travel in time; some die out while others survive. From Magna Grecia to the Middle Ages, the ”scapece” method of conserving fried foods in vinegar has survived in Gallipoli as a fish delicacy. Here the dish uses pupiddhi (small fish) coated in flour and fried in olive oil. The next step involves a special saffron-scented wooden box, known as a “calette” in Gallipoli. Inside the box, the fried fish is layered with hard bread soaked in vinegar mixed with precious saffron. The marinating time depends on family tradition. Scapece is served in traditional restaurants, or sold on the streets directly from the box during the city’s many religious festivals.


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