Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Scalcione di cipolla - Puglia
Preparation - Medium
1 Calzone about 12 inches in diameter

Why this is called scalcione when similar savory pies are called focaccie is a question for a diagnostic dialectician and not for me. Scalcione is typical of the region around Bari, especially during Lent, when the long, slender, white sponsale are in season. Also called cipolle porraie (leek-onions), sponsale are a type of allium that look like thin leeks. Don't be tempted to increase the amount of stuffing - it's a perfect balance to offset the delicious richness of the pastry itself.

Rosa Granozio, who lives in Triggiano on the outskirts of Bari, showed me how to make scalcione . Rosa worked in Chicago for several years when she was a young woman, so we discussed what an American substitute for sponsale might be. Scallions are, on the whole, too thin and too sweet, so seeking out the thinnest of leeks seemed to us to be the best solution. While the dough differs quite a bit from those previously given, you may use one of them if you prefer.

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups very warm water
  • 4 cups flour plus a little more for rolling out the dough
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds leeks, very thinly sliced to make about 5 cups
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 salted anchovy fillets, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 or 3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins soaked in hot water to plump
  • About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for the pan and the top crust
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
OO Mixing bowl, frying pan, baking sheet.

  1. SPRINKLE the dried yeast over 1/4 cup of very warm water in a small bowl; when it has "bloomed," add the remaining water to it.
  2. IN a larger bowl, mix the flour with the wine, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir in the yeast water and work it into the dough with your hands. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead the dough just until it loses its stickiness. Set aside, covered with a damp cloth, while you prepare the filling.
  3. TO make the filling, warm the olive oil in a saute' pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and saute' very gently for about 15 minutes, or until the leeks are soft but not brown. Add the milk and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Then stir in the sugar and cook 5 minutes more. At the end of this time, the leeks should be very soft, almost melting into a sauce. Add the anchovies, black olives, parsley, and tomatoes. Stir to mix well and continue cooking until the sauce is thick and all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained raisins.
  4. SHAPE the calzone on a lightly oiled baking sheet or in a round shallow 12-inch pizza pan, lightly oiled. Punch down the dough and divide it in two, one part slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger part on a lightly floured board until it is about 1/s inch thick. Set it on the baking pan-if using a pizza pan, the dough circle should come up over the sides. Spread the filling mixture on the circle, leaving a border of about 1 inch or less around the edge. Roll out the second portion of dough and top the filling. Fold together the top and bottom edges of dough, pulling the bottom edge up over the top edge and pressing evenly to seal. Brush the remaining oil over the top crust, sprinkle with the sugar (it will help brown the crust), and prick with a fork. Set aside, covered with a damp cloth, while you heat the oven.
  5. TURN the oven on to 450 degrees F. and heat for at least 30 minutes, then slide in the scalcione After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 degrees F. and continue baking another 30 minutes. May be served immediately or left to cool to room temperature.
  6. VARIATION: Some Pugliese cooks add 1/2 pound of mozzarella or scamorza cheese, or baked ham, cut into small cubes or slivers. Some also add about 1/2 pound of ricotta, dabbed here and there over the surface of the filling.

Flavors of Puglia
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Broadway Books




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