Scarpaccia salata di Camaiore (savoury and custardy courgette cake from Camaiore, Tuscany)

This is the savoury version of scarpaccia, that unusual courgette cake from North Tuscany I described in the previous post; in fact savoury scarpaccia is regarded as the original dish by Tuscan food authority Paolo Petroni, whose recipe I used as a template (the sweet version, he says, came later).Savoury scarpaccia is typical of the costal town of Camaiore, but it can also be found in the nearby, mountain Garfagnana area, behind Lucca.
A flash of inspiration made me swap the white flour for chickpea flour: I thought its nutty taste would play well against the sweetness of the courgettes and I was pleased with it. This is not a clueless substitution, by the way: one of Tuscany’s most famous and ancient food is cecina, a deliciously oily pancake made with chickpea flour. I also used some sharp pecorino, one of the great Tuscan cheeses,  to emphasize the  savoury dimension of the dish. Savory scarpaccia is delicious and  has become a favourite.

Whatever tin u decide to use, carpaccia must be thin, no more than a couple of centimetres (otherwise it might feel stodgy)

Scarpaccia salata di Camaiore (savoury and custardy courgette cake from Camaiore, Tuscany)
6-8 portions

a 31 x 21 cm tin, oiled, lined, oiled again  and sprinkled with fine breadcrumbs: do not use a tin with a removable base as the batter will escape.

500 g courgettes, thinly sliced (a mandolin does the best job here)
a few courgette flowers, cut up into ribbons, if available
2 new season onions, thinly sliced; they are called cipollotti in italian and look like giant spring onions; any sweet and juicy onion will do
2 eggs
60 g olive oil + extra to drizzle on top
60 ml milk
150 100 g sifted chickpea flour (when I tried again 150 g, I felt it was too much. This 100 g amendment, I have not tried yet)
50 g aged pecorino + a little extra for the top layer
some basil leaves or a little chopped parsley
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Mix the courgettes, their flowers (if using) and the onions. Sprinkle them with some salt and leave them to sweat for one hour. Drain, rinse them, squeeze them dry with a  cloth. If the courgettes are very young and firm, salting is not necessary
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Make a batter by mixing the flour, the cheese, the eggs, the oil, the milk, salt and pepper.
Add the herbs and the courgette. Mix thoroughly.
Pour into the prepared tin, level, dust with the breadcrumbs and with some pecorino, drizzle with oil and bake for 45 minutes approximately, or until a deep golden crusty top has formed.
Eat warm.

May 2022, in Lucca. NEW, DIFFERENT VERSION – which I preferred

I used very young and small courgettes, the pale green ones, with their flower still attached.
They were not pre salted. I cooked the sliced onions and when tender, I added the courgettes (no salt) and I cook them briefly: under 5 minutes. They will not be fully cooked.  Add the slivered flowers off heat.
The batter was made using plain flour:
100 g plain flour + 2 eggs + 100 ml milk
pecorino and chopped parsley and mint
add the courgettes
pour into a round, oiled and breadcrumbed  tin 30 cm
top with breadcrumbs (not too much), zig zag with oil and bake until golden

12 thoughts on “Scarpaccia salata di Camaiore (savoury and custardy courgette cake from Camaiore, Tuscany)

  1. Read on Friday, made this morning for posh picnic at Kew…. everyone loved it so much that nothing came back home…. thanks for another great recipe


  2. The chickpea flour sounds like genius to me. I love the flavor and imagine it compliments the zucchini perfectly. Sadly, the blossoms are all but impossible to find in these parts, even in the farmers markets for some reason!


    1. “genius” is my mid name :)…. er.. not really.. but this was an inspired idea.
      courgette flowers do not exist here in London… I remember in Italy frying them by the shopping bag… frittelle di fiori di zucca.. sooo good.—–
      ciao st


  3. Sounds lovely. And looking for courgette/zucchini recipes now as they become ubiquitous as the farmers’ markets. The chickpea flour sounds like a delicious (and appropriate!) substitution.


  4. What a perfect dish for this season. The courgettes and their blossoms are plentiful in the market, and I just ground a fresh batch of chickpea flour to make cecina.

    We discovered cecina in Viareggio while visiting a friend – he was so excited to have us try the famous chickpea pancake, and we ate it in focaccia. It was out of this world good, and so simple. There is a similar chickpea crêpe in Sicily, and I look forward to trying them, as well.

    I must admit that this scarpaccia is so appealing – more so than the sweet version.

    Hope all is well there – and that you are having good weather. Hot here – over 40°C daily.


    1. ciao davideì
      lucky u if u can find fiori di zucchine: here either non existing or crazy expensive
      … cecia: I love it and I was playing with the idea of buying the proper copper pan (called testo) to make it…but then, looking at my bulging shelves full with pots and pans.. I thought.. “..magari anche no!” (still, they are beautiful)

      in sicily: it is called panelle: they make a chickpea flour polentina, they spread it thinly on marble and let it cool down, then they cut it up in batons and fry them: generally eaten in a panino: pane e panelle: very, very good (we had a posh version of this in the excellent Noto restaurant called Il Crocefisso)

      here it is super hot. just back from few days in Venice: glorious… for the first time I said to myself: I could actually live here, I mean: it is not that difficult to avoid us visitors once u know the city…. we found a good apartment on the canal grande (at a good price, Paul can be very good at this sort of things): amazing location, next to the Casino..

      … I have eaten very good sarde in saor and lovely chicheti, u know, the venetian tapas…
      hope u r all well


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