I love this simple summer Italian snack. Somewhere between a flat bread and a Dutch baby, it is a simple batter packed with gorgeous summer zucchini and a dash of fresh oregano. It really highlights the beautiful taste of straight-from-the garden zucchini. Scarpaccia is a Tuscan dish and the name comes from the word scarpa, which means shoe – because this is flat and well-done, like a worn shoe. I have served this to great acclaim, and with its Italian name and uniqueness, your friends and family will really think you’ve slaved away to create something special, though you will know how easy it actually is to bring together! And it makes good and simple use of a glut of garden zucchini or an overzealous farmers market haul. And you could make it with a mix of zucchini and yellow squash.
Salting, draining and squeezing the sliced zucchini is critical, otherwise you won’t end up with a delicious crisp-edged treat, but a watery mess. You want lots of zucchini just bound together, so load up on the slices, more zucchini than batter. I love oregano with zucchini, and it adds a certain Italinate feel, but I have also used thyme, basil and mint to good effect, or leave out herbs altogether. If you happen to have squash blossoms, cut the petals into strips and sprinkle over the top before baking. Serve this warm, or just coming to room temperature, cut into snackable squares. I love arranging this over a rustic serving board to serve as a snack, but large slabs could be served as a plated starter or even a light lunch with a salad.
2 medium zucchini
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
2 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 green onions
Kosher salt and black pepper
- Thinly slice the zucchini into rounds using a mandolin or slowly and carefully with a sharp knife. Place into a wire mesh sieve, sprinkle over two big pinches of salt and shake to coat. Leave over the sink to drain for 30 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a clean thin tea towel, bundle them up and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 by 8 inch square baking dish with nonstick foil with some overhang so you can lift the finished scarpaccia out. Pour about 3 Tablespoons olive oil into the bottom of the pan – you want to cover the bottom with a visible amount of oil, not a thin coating, but not an oil slick.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, the chopped oregano, about 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and crack in the eggs. Use a fork to break up the eggs and beat them into the flour. When you have a stiff, combined mixture, stir in the milk until you have a smooth batter. Add most of the parmesan (leaving a handful for the top) then add ¾ of zucchini slices and stir to distribute them evenly, using a fork to separate any slices that stick together.
- Finely chop the green onions and put them in the pan with the oil, sprinkling them out across the surface. Place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven (carefully) and pour in the batter. Toss the remaining zucchini slices with a little oil (I do this quickly in the sieve) and distribute over the top of the batter then sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until firm in the center and browned around the edges. Serve warm, cut into squares.