This recipe has been gently offered by Gabriella, a half English half Italian who likes to Mangiare Bene and runs the beautiful blog MangiaBene where she shares her foodie experiences and family recipes.

This dish’s origins lie in its name – Gallipoli. The scapece dates back to medieval times when the town came under siege by various Mediterranean authorities. Inhabitants of Gallipoli took refuge behind the city walls and therefore needed to find ways to prolong the life of some foods.

That’s where Scapece comes in… Pickled fish. An important fishing centre, Gallipoli used its rich maritime produce to supply a food that would last over time. Scapece involves layering small fish with vinegar, breadcrumbs and saffron, which is left to marinade.
It’s roots might lie in necessity, but today it is sold in big barrels at market squares in Gallipoli. I have to say I’m not a big fan of this dish, even though I really want to be.

I guess it might be because I’m not eating it on a beautiful Salentine beach watching fishermen bring their daily catch in whilst the sun hits my face. Or maybe, I just don’t like it. I will give it another go when I visit Gallipoli later this year.


Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Time

Time: 60 min


Portions: 4


  • 500g Small fish (whitebait or anchovies)
  • 200g Fresh Breadcrumbs
  • 500ml White wine vinegar
  • Flour for coating fish
  • Olive Oil
  • A pinch of saffron
  • A pinch of Turmeric for colour


  • Dip the fish in flour and fry in hot oil, set aside.
  • Pour the vinegar into a bowl and dissolve the saffron and turmeric.
  • Put the breadcrumbs into the mixture to soak up the vinegar.
  • Layer the fish and breadcrumbs in a deep serving dish until everything is used.
  • Allow to marinate for 1 – 2 days.
  • Serve as an antipasto.

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