La Piscialetta for sale at a bakery in Puglia, Italy (Photo: Brent Petersen)La Piscialetta for sale at a bakery in Puglia, Italy
There are two things about Italian food that I like the best. First, they waste NOTHING. Second, each town has its own specialty.
This story about La Piscialetta combines both of those things.
La Piscialetta is a small piece of bread, maybe the size of your fist. It is made from the leftover dough scraps of the bread making process. The remnants left on the table and on the tools are gathered and kneaded Olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, whatever you have lying around are added and the bread is baked.
As you can tell from the process, this is a staple that is used by poor families to stretch their food budget. This is especially true in Puglia, which, until recently, was one of the poorest regions of Italy.
Each town in Salento (a region in Puglia) has its own preferred method and ingredients for making La Piscialetta, though, as you can see, the recipe isn’t exactly set in stone.
With better economic conditions in Puglia (from the wine and olive oil trade), the tradition of La Piscialetta was lost. But, recently, it have been revived. Even high end bakeries have La Piscialetta for sale in Puglia and a Sagra della Piscialetta (Piscialetta Festival) is held in several towns every summer. It looks like a good time, too!