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2 Kg anchovies
300 g flour 00
oil for frying
1l vinegar
3 sachets of saffron
1 kg bread crumbs

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Scapece of anchovies alla gallipolina (from Gallipoli)

Fried and marinated anchovy fillets between layers of bread crumbs soaked with vinegar and saffron

recipe given by our chef at .

ricetta immagine
These ingredients are able to feed: 10persons Scapece of anchovies alla gallipolina (from Gallipoli)


Generally scapece in from Gallipoli, fish (typically "ope" and "cupiddhi") is fried without removing the thorns because the subsequent marinating softens even the fishbone and renders it edible.
In this recipe, we decided to use the method "alla gallipolina" scapece using fish as anchovies already bought without thorns.
Open the anchovies, salt and let them drain in a colander for 15-20 minutes. Pour the flour into a bowl, cover them in flour and fry in hot oil. When they are golden brown on both sides, drain and place them on paper towels to remove the excess oil.
After frying proceed with the preparation of the crumb. Take a loaf of stale bread (preferably hard wheat) and detach the crumb crust, then crumble the bread and put it in a container. If the bread is very stale by rubbing your hands, the crumb will crumble very easily; but if you have not too stale bread, after reducing the crumb into small pieces you can put it in a hot oven for a few minutes, so as to let it dry slightly and you can proceed with the crumbling.
To prepare the scapece you need a tall container, the ideal would be a wooden tub, but they are often not available at home or they are very large and would force in preparations in large quantities, so we can use the oven dishes tall glass or porcelain such as that shown in the images, avoid aluminum containers.
Proceed by placing a first layer of bread crumbs, sprinkles it with vinegar in which was dissolved saffron, continue with a layer of fried anchovies and continue alternating layers of bread crumbs soaked in vinegar and saffron and fried anchovies until you you reach the edge of the pan, the last layer should be made of soaked bread.

Close the container with its lid or with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 days for marinating. They are actually already good to eat after a few hours, but to have an optimal scapece, fried fish needs to marinate long enough, especially if you use fish with thorns still inside.

I tell you this recipe

As the name suggests, the scapece from Gallipoli is a typical dish of the city of Gallipoli, the seaside town of Salento. It is a method of preparing fish very old, dating back to the medieval period in which Gallipoli was submitted to the sieges of the Mediterranean powers, and the inhabitants of the city were therefore forced to close within the walls for a long time, so this preparation allowing long term storage fish, food very abundant around the city, allowing a supply of food that could last over time.
The fish used for scapece is small, typically "ope" and "cupiddhi" that are fried whole without deboning them because the fishbone internal softens then during the marinating. The scapece from Gallipoli consists of alternating layers of fried fish and bread crumbs soaked in vinegar and saffron, all in wooden troughs, in dialect called “calette”. Saffron is an ingredient that characterizes this dish because it gives a beautiful yellow-gold in the crumb.
As already stated, the purpose of this type of preparation is to ensure the conservation of the food for a long period, today in fact it is a traditional product that is on sale in the markets of the squares of Gallipoli or in catering activities that offering typical dishes of the local gastronomy, in short, in the past it was a necessity today is a sophistication.
This is just a variation of the “gallipolina scapece”. In fact, scapece means a culinary preparation that involves first fried fish or vegetables and then marinated in vinegar. Depending on the location, the ingredients and the procedures can get many variations.
There are several theories on the etymology of the term scapece. One of these would trace the origin of the name Apicius, the most famous chef and restaurateur of the ancient Romans, the author of the first book of gastronomy “De Coquinaria”.
The Latin derivation suggests that the term scapece born from the fusion of the words “esca” and “Apicius”. Esca in Latin means meal and it seems that Apicius in his book advised to sprinkle fried fish with hot vinegar to preserve them for long. From here Apicii esca, meal of Apicius, and then scapece in Italian and escabeche in Spanish.

Another theory given in the Etymological Dictionary of Pascual Corominas would instead trace the origin of the Spanish word escabeche to the Arabic term sikbag, which indicated a meat preparation typical of Persia where it was made use of vinegar. This word sounded like iskebech, which escabeche and then scapece in Italian.

Scapece of anchovies alla gallipolina (from Gallipoli)

the nutritional

Since this is a preparation that involves frying it is necessary to remember to follow the recommendations for optimal frying: soak the fish in very hot oil to prevent excessive absorption of oil, but be careful not to exceed the smoking point, otherwise they begin to forming compounds harmful to your health. Therefore, it is recommended to use a suitable oil for frying, with a high smoking point, and avoid exhausted oils, that is already used for other previous fries.


words to remember

Scapece, scapece gallipolina, Gallipoli, conservation with vinegar, escabeche, Apicius, sikbag, cupiddhi, ope, bluefish, anchovies, marinated, fried fish, Salento, saffron

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