Zucchini with Vinegar and Mint is an Italian classic that you have to try! Known as Zucchine alla Scapece in Naples and Concia in Rome, this simple antipasto or side dish is made with only 5 ingredients and is naturally gluten free, vegan and SO delicious. If you’re looking for something to do with all of that zucchini in the garden, look no further than this!
This recipe is inspired by a dish we had last year on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It was at a little restaurant in Praiano called Il Pirata, and it was my favorite meal of the trip. I had a mind blowing pasta with anchovies, a surprisingly delicious escarole with olives and capers, and this: a simple side of zucchini, sliced ultra thin, fried until golden brown and then marinated in vinegar and fresh mint. I realize that it might sound like it’s not anything all that special, but trust me, this dish is so much better than the sum of its parts.
Earlier this year I posted a recipe for the escarole, but I wanted to wait until summer squash was back in season to make this one. Back in July, my garden was just starting to produce zucchini when we left for our trip to Greece, but upon returning home I found the plants wilted with only rotten fruit on the vine. Oh well. Greece was totally worth it, and luckily zucchini is prevalent and cheap just about everywhere you look this time of year.
If you grow zucchini and your plants didn’t die like mine, you probably have more of it than you know what to do with right now. Make this. Really! Make it. Not only will you fall in love with its addictively tangy flavor, you’ll be amazed at how much zucchini it uses up. Because it has a high water content, cooking zucchini causes it to shrink down as the water evaporates, leaving you with a fraction of what you started with – kind of like spinach.
In Naples (which is right by the Amalfi Coast), this dish is known as Zucchine alla Scapece, but it goes by the name Concia in the Roman Jewish tradition. Typically the zucchini is fried, which gives it an incredibly rich flavor, but standing over the stove and frying in batches is not only messy, it takes forever and can even be dangerous. I’ve developed this recipe using an oven fry method instead, just like I do with eggplant in my Unbreaded Eggplant Parm and my Turkey Moussaka.
The upside is that you’re able to achieve that same fried flavor without hovering over the stove and enduring painful oil-splat burns (and even more painful cleanup). The downside is that it requires you to turn your oven up to a very high temperature in the middle of summer. Save this recipe for a cooler day, or just go for it. The slightly higher electric bill will totally be worth it.
I love to slice the zucchini ultra thin in order to achieve a really great texture, but I’ve seen this recipe prepared with much bigger pieces. The choice is yours. When I’m making it for just Chaser and me, I use my mandoline to take the zucchini down to about ¼ inch. If I’m doubling or tripling the recipe, I’ll cut them on the thicker side in order to fit more slices on each pan. It’s such a forgiving recipe, you honestly can’t mess it up, but the key is to make sure the zucchini are nicely browned on the outside – that’s where all the flavor comes from.
The baking takes a bit of time, yes, but it’s mostly hands off. The rest of the recipe is easy as pie. Just kidding, pie is way more complicated to make. All you do is smash a clove of garlic and let it infuse in some red wine vinegar, then tear up a bunch of fresh mint. When the zucchini comes out of the oven, transfer it to a bowl and toss with the infused vinegar and mint, then wipe the drool off of your chin and get ready to dive in.
The Italians have this magical ability to turn humble vegetables into something that everyone can’t stop eating. In addition to being crazy delicious, this dish also happens to be vegan / dairy free, gluten / grain free, and nut free. Unless you’re allergic to zucchini, this recipe is for YOU!
One Year Ago: Raw Corn + Nectarine Salad
Two Years Ago: Cucumber Melon Salad with Feta and Mint | Grilled Peach Panzanella with Burrata | Lemon Blueberry Poundcake
Three Years Ago: Cucumber Radish Salad with Yogurt | Lobster Corn Fritters with Tarragon Aioli | Savory Peach Galette with Blue Cheese + Caramelized Shallots
Four Years Ago: Thai Cucumber Salad | Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta with Whipped Ricotta + Mint | Lavender Peach Popsicles | Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Herb Yogurt
Five Years Ago: For the Love of Tomatoes
Six Years Ago: Cheeseburger in Paradise | Pan con Tomate
Zucchini with Vinegar and Mint is an Italian classic that you have to try! Known as Zucchine alla Scapece in Naples and Concia in Rome, this simple antipasti or side dish is made with only 5 ingredients and is naturally gluten free, vegan and SO delicious. If you’re looking for something to do with all of that zucchini in the garden, look no further than this!
- 2 medium-large zucchini or 4-6 small zucchini, sliced ¼ – ½ inch thick *(See note)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line 3 sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Toss the sliced zucchini with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, then arrange in a single, even layer on the baking sheets. It’s okay if the slices are touching or slightly overlapping (they will shrink as they cook), but don’t add more than one layer on each pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 10 minutes.
- While the zucchini are cooking, add the garlic clove and vinegar to a small bowl and set aside.
- Use a fork to flip each zucchini slice on to the other side, then rotate the pans again and continue cooking until the zucchini are nicely browned in some parts, about 10 minutes more.
- Transfer the zucchini to a serving bowl. Remove the garlic clove from the vinegar, then pour it over the zucchini. Sprinkle with mint leaves and gently toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, then serve.
- The zucchini are best served warm or at room temperature (my preference), but they are good cold too. Some people like to let them marinate for a few hours or overnight, but I think they taste great immediately after making. Any leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week – but chances are you won’t have any.
*Despite starting with a lot of zucchini, once they cook down in the oven you aren’t left with much. I recommend doubling this recipe, but note that it will require 2 rounds of baking the zucchini (or 2 ovens). If doubling or tripling the recipe, it’s advised to cut the zucchini thicker in order to fit more slices on the sheet pans.
Keywords: Naples, Roman Jewish, side, marinated, summer squash, Italian, antipasti