Scapece Di Vasto

  • 1 Kg (2.2 lbs) white fish (possibly thornback ray or smooth hound)
  • 500 gr (1.1 lbs) mixed mollusks and crustaceans
  • a good pinch of saffron stigmas
  • 1 cup fine quality white wine vinegar
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fistfuls of all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • olive oil for frying
  • A chilled bottle of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo
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How to make the Scapece di Vasto:

Clean and gut the fish and then cut it into small chunks. Trim and clean the octopus and other mollusks, and remove the carapace from the shrimp. Cut these in small pieces too and roll it all in the flour, fry in a skillet for about 3 minutes, and then park briefly on a paper towel to absorb excess grease.

Warm the vinegar over a mild flame, remove the pot from the stove just before it boils, and break the saffron filaments into it.

Wilt the chopped onion in some olive oil, and set aside when translucent.

Make layers of the fried mixed fish chunks in a high rimmed container (preferably glass) dousing them with the warm aromatic vinegar, drench each layer with a splash of Trebbiano and some sautéed onions. Marinade for 8 days, at least, and then serve like the Vasto fisherman would, with crusty bread, a seaside view and good conversation. Don’t forget the leftover Trebbiano…

Serves 4

Regional recipe from Abruzzo