Scarpetta, which literally means ‘little shoe’, is the Italian word for mopping your plate up with bread. Is it bad etiquette? Probably, but with this cundiün I’m quite happy to throw etiquette straight out the window! Imagine the juiciest fruit salad you’ve ever had, but the savoury version – that my friends, is cundiün.
I’ve spoken a fair bit about Graziella and her cooking. However when it comes to cundiun, this responsibility sits squarely with Rino, Gra’s husband. Rino never returns empty handed from his orchard up in the hills. If you are lucky enough to be over for dinner on nights when Rino brings home a basket of ox heart tomatoes, then you know you’re in for a life changing cundiün!
If you were to venture into any of the Ligurian campagna – countryside – during the summer months and ask for ü cundiün, you’d gain instant acceptance from locals. In Liguria this is not a salad, it’s an institution. On paper it certainly struggles to stand out – it doesn’t boast of any rare ingredients, complex flavour combinations and has no luxurious buffalo mozzarella in sight. In a bowl however, which is what counts, it is a phenomenal combination of fresh flavours that you’ll enjoy till your last dunk of bread. Like with any simple food, it comes down to what ingredients you use. Hunt down some good quality ox heart tomatoes, a few glugs of good extra virgin olive oil, some nice crusty bread, and you’re in for a treat.
Feel free to bulk out your cundiun with a few other salad bits. Tomatoes however, should always be the chief ingredient. You may also think I’m going heavy handed on the salt – that may be true, but it’s key as it helps draw out the juice from the tomatoes, which along with the olive oil, garlic and vinegar, makes a pretty addictive dressing ideal for your scarpetta!
Serves 2. Prep time 20 mins; wait time 20 mins.
2 large ox heart tomatoes
1/2 a small red onion, finely sliced
1 celery stick, chopped
6 radishes, finely sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 tsp salted capers, washed
1 handful of taggiasca/kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
a small bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large pinches of sea salt flakes, crushed
a few good twists of black pepper
Take a large salad bowl and rub all of the inside with the crushed garlic. Chop any large pieces that are left over and add to the bowl.
Toss in the tomatoes, red onion, celery, radishes, pepper, capers, olives and fresh basil.
Dress with with the oil and vinegar and give it a good season. Feel free to tweak these to your taste.
Give it all a good mix for 30 seconds then cover with cling film and set aside for 20 minutes. The salt will extract the tomato juices and everything can infuse nicely during this time.
Serve up and don’t forget your scarpetta!
Thanks for reading!
Let me know what you think! Are you a scarpetta lover?