A Neapolitan curly: the papaccella

By Lina Malafronte

The “curly” most loved by the Neapolitans, curvy, firm and pulpy, charming the sweetness and the smell. We are not talking about a woman, but about a Neapolitan delicacy as Neapolitan is its name: the papaccella.

Fresh, roasted, pan-fried, baked or stuffed, there are many and various ways to consume this Neapolitan curly. It can be red, yellow or green, this flattened pepper, with small berries and ribbed, is one of those vegetables that follows the creativity of who is in the kitchen harmonizing all the tastes.

A rare preciosity, therefore protected as a Slow Food presidium, which loves sunbathing and is the summer “daughter”, the papaccella strikes the eyes and throat with a joy of colors and vitamins. Another few months and from the land of “Papaccio” in the shade of Vesuvius these small fruits will enliven our markets’ stalls up to the first cold waves, when pickled will spend the whole winter. An old method that brings us back to the time when the gardens were flanked the farms where the vinegar was produced and the ciutunaro, the person who made the conserves, using the rancelloni, large wooden barrels, immersed this and other products in the sour sauce.

Coming from the New World, there is no table that can resist it: if unfailingly during the Christmas Eve dinner it triumphs in the genuine Neapolitan insalata di rinforzo, Eduardo De Filippo told to eat it with “na scurzetell’ ʼe pane r’ ʼo juorno primmo” (a bit of bread from the day before). Not with bread but on a pizza, Enzo Coccia put it to accompany sausage and smoked mozzarella, both of buffalo, and grated laticauda pecorino.