Stefano Arturi is an Italian food blogger who lives in the UK and has blogs in both Italian and English. He always has interesting traditional recipes and does a lot of research about the historical background of recipes. Recently he wrote about scarpaccia, a zucchini cake from the northern coast of Tuscany. There are two versions: savory from the town of Camaiore, and sweet from Viareggio. I decided to give the savory version a try, and reverted to a more classical version. Stefano had replaced the flour with chickpea flour and added cheese, but I wanted to try the original first. It is quite easy to make and very tasty. The texture is a bit like a custard and this reminded me of a French clafoutis, although of course the sweet version would be even more similar. Scarpaccia means “ugly shoe” and refers to the shape, which is rather thin (about 1 cm or half an inch thick).
I had half of this for lunch, but you could easily cut it into smaller portions
500 grams (1.1 lbs) zucchini
1 spring onion
150 grams (1 cup) flour
60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil (you could also use melted butter)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil, torn or sliced with a sharp knife (not chopped as that would bruise the leaves too much)
Slice 500 grams of zucchini and a spring onion thinly. I used a mandoline.
Sprinkle the zucchini and spring onion generously with salt to draw out the water.
Transfer the zucchini to a colander and and allow to sit for half an hour.
Meanwhile, make the batter. Start by lightly beating the 3 eggs in a bowl.
Add 150 grams of sifted flour and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Add 60 ml of milk.
Whisk until there are no more lumps.
Add 60 ml of extra virgin olive oil.
Whisk until incorporated.
Line a 20 cm by 30 cm (8 inch by 12 inch) oven dish with parchment paper and brush it with olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F (180C/350F if using the fan).
Pat the zucchini and spring onion dry with paper towels.
Squeeze some more water out with your hands.
Add the zucchini and spring onion to the prepared batter, together with a generous amount of basil.
Stir until well mixed. There should be enough salt from the zucchini, but you could add some more salt if you like.
Dump the contents of the bowl in the prepared oven dish…
…and level it to an even layer.
Bake in the oven at 200C/400F (180C/350F if using the fan) until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
It is easy to remove the parchment paper. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.
Crab-crusted fish with madeira sauce is a dish worthy of a restaurant — which is not strange because I copied it from a restaurant in Miami.