I have been a food blogger for several years now and I can proudly say I have been helping spreading the cooking tradition of Ragusa on the net. It is an honour receiving emails from people born in Ragusa but leaving in the north of Italy or even abroad, in which they thank me because I help them reproducing recipes from their childhood!
The “scacce”(focaccia in Italian) are absolutely the food that best represents the province of Ragusa: the classics are made with tomato sauce but, during the season alternation, we prepare other types of scacce, usually with vegetables.
Today, I want to talk you about the eggplant scacce, my favourite!
Eggplants are fried, so they are not exactly a light dish, but they are soooooo delicious!
Unfortunately, eggplants absorb too much oil when cooking. What I can suggest, to make them lighter, is to fry the eggplants a day before you want to prepare the scacce, and allow them to rest in a pasta dryer with something heavy on top all night long, to eliminate the oil in excess.
Find here the recipe!
Eggplant “scacce”- specialties from Ragusa
Ingredients for 4 scacce:
To prepare the dough:
500 gr durum wheat semolina
12g fresh yeast
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs salt
For the filling:
3 big black eggplants
300 ml tomato sauce
100 gr caciocavallo cheese
100 gr bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil to fry the eggplants
One day before the preparation of the scacce, fry the eggplants.
Cut the edges, wash and slice. Lay the slices in a pasta dryer, sprinkle some cooking salt on them and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, to eliminate the bitter water the eggplant contains.
Wash the eggplant slices and dry.
Fry them; then lay on some paper towel to absorb the oil.
Let them resting all night as I have suggested above.
The day after, prepare the dough.
Mix the flour with the oil in a bowl.
Melt the yeast with some warm water and add to the flour.
Mix by hands, pouring water anytime the dough needs it, but be careful not to make it too humid.
Finally, add the salt.
Mix energetically by hands on a table for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into four parts and constantly mix until you have 4 smooth and elastic little balls.
The classic method to make the scacce raise is to cover them with a blanket and allow them to rest for 1 hour.
In the meanwhile, prepare the filling.
Put the eggplants in a bowl.
Chop the onion and add to the eggplants.
Cut the cheese in tiny pieces and put in the bowl.
Pour the tomato sauce and the bread crumbs to the other ingredients.
Mix by hands.
Sprinkle some flour on a table, roll the first dough ball creating a regular shape (round or rectangular).
Transfer the filling on half of it, leaving the edges free.
Close the scaccia with the other half and press on the edges to adhere.
If edges are too wide you can cut the dough in excess.
We usually embellish our scacce by embroidering the edges: our grandmothers are expert in making the so-called “rieficu”. It makes the edges close perfectly and make the scacce look nice!
Once you have finished rolling all the dough balls, lay your scacce on a baking tin (with baking paper) and make holes on the surface using a fork.
Brush a mixture of water and oil on them and bake for 20 minutes at 220°.
Once cooked, allow them to cool.
The eggplant scacce are great served both hot or cold and they can be easily prepared a day before a picnic or a day trip.