Traditional Good Friday Foods
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ after he was betrayed by Judas on Holy Thursday, marked by The Last Supper. The events of Good Friday include the Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion performed by Catholics during Lent. One thing to remember is “Good” Friday is a misnomer for this solemn day, because it is actually a day of mourning, the day of Jesus's death, rather than a day of celebration. Italians and other faithful forgo consuming meat as a form of fasting on Good Friday. Easter Sunday is when we celebrate the Risen Christ with a proper feast.
While lesser known in Southern Italy than say Naples of Sicily for Easter traditions, my home of Puglia is acknowledged for its authentic, traditional celebrations and religious rites during the Easter holiday. If you happen to be in the South of Italy during Holy week, consider visiting Puglia!
When we make our way to the table, the tradition on Good Friday is to prepare an Easter Calzone, or Scalcione di Cipolle. This savory onion pie adheres to the no-meat provision of a Lenten Friday. Originating in Mola di Bari in Puglia, Scalcione, which sounds like calzone, is the word for calzone in the Pugese dialect. Although intended for Good Friday, I love to eat it all year round because it is a versatile appetizer whatever the day. You can cut it small into bites or slice and serve. Italians fast during day on Good Friday, followed by mass, and then all will eat a slice of Scalcione after church. This recipe is meant to be eaten at room temperature although my Nonna loves to have it straight from the oven.
The filling for scalcione can vary from town to town but in Mola we use scallions, tomatoes and olives. Traditionally, the scalcione is finished with a fish component. Some use bacala` but Nonna Romana and I use anchovies. Another fun fact about scalcione: you may recognize it is the exact same dough if you have made my Cartellate before! It is a basic, versatile dough comprised of flour, white wine, olive oil, and a pinch of salt used in many different ways in an Italian kitchen.
Another typical Good Friday dish is the Escarole Pie, a variation of Lo Scalcione! This savory pie is packed with escarole of course, anchovies, pinoli nuts, and raisins for a subtle sweet bite. Something that is particularly comforting to me about my beloved town of Mola di Bari specifically, is I know that on Good Friday, every Molese family is preparing these dishes the exact same way.
For other Good Friday options, many of them seafood, visit my site. When Good Friday concludes, families eat normally on Holy Saturday and of course on Easter Sunday there is a wonderful feast. There is another Scalcione for the taking on Easter too!
Bless you all,