Scapece Di Vasto


  • 1 Kg (2.2 lbs) white fish (possibly thornback ray or smoothhound)
  • 500 gr (1.1 lbs) mixed mollusks and crustaceans
  • a good pinch of saffron stigmas
  • 1 cup fine quality white wine vinegar
  • One small white onion, finely chopped
  • Two fistfuls of all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • olive oil for frying
  • A chilled bottle of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

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 eight 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, Apulia

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at